EcoBank Hooked in US$1.5M Damages Lawsuit


The Civil Court at the Temple of Justice has found the management of Ecobank, one of leading banking institutions in the country, liable (guilty) and subsequently demanded the bank to pay US$1.5million in damages to the Embassy Suites Incorporated.
Ecobank was held guilty after Judge Yussif Kaba endorsed the earlier unanimous verdict of the empanelled jury, which authorized the bank’s management to pay damages to Embassy Suites Incorporated.
The bank has protested against the verdict and requested the court’s approval to set it aside and order a new trial on the grounds that the ruling was contrary to the evidence produced at the trial.
Embassy Suites Incorporated filed an action of damages for wrong against Ecobank, arguing that the bank illegally closed the business and succeeded in evicting their customers who were residing in the hotel because one of its shareholders, Anwar Saoud, attached the company as a collateral and took a loan of over US$900,000 from the bank .
Denying Ecobank’s request for a new trial, Judge Kaba explained that during the hearing, no evidence was produced showing any transfer of assets and or liability of Embassy Suites Sole Proprietorship to Embassy Suites Incorporated.
“The undisputed evidence is that Embassy Suites Sole Proprietorship was created in 2012 by Anwar Saoud as a sole proprietor under Liberian Law and it was the Embassy Suites’ Sole Proprietorship that was made one of the parties to the debt and not the Embassy Suites Inc. which was established as a corporate entity in 2014,” Judge Kaba clarified.
“Therefore,” he declared, “this court is hereby adjourned with the defendant liable in damages for wrong and because the jury returned a blanket award of US$1.5 million without determining what portion thereof are general and what part is specific.”
“The court determined the award as follows: specific damages deposed as US$72,152 and the general damages determined as US$1.427, 848,” he continued.
Judge Kaba then ordered the clerk of court to issue a bill of costs and have the same placed in the hands of the sheriff for taxation by the parties and thereafter for satisfaction by the defendant’s absence for which an execution should be issued.”
The bank’s action was based on an agreement entered into between its management and another company, also named as “Embassy Suites Sole Proprietorship,” which happened to be solely owned by Mr. Saoud.
It was that company’s personal properties he added to serve as collateral for the loan in the event that the loan was not repaid, instead of the Embassy Suites Incorporated of which he was one of its shareholders.
It was based on that fact that the jury unanimously found Ecobank guilty of erroneously attaching Embassy Suites Incorporated to a loan owed it by one of its shareholders, Saoud and ordered the bank to pay US$1.5million in damages, which verdict the bank lawyers were requesting to have set aside.
Ecobank lawyers also contended that the verdict was contrary to the weight of evidences produced by the company’s witnesses. They ignored and disregarded the court’s instruction by returning the verdict not supported by the fact and law presented to them.
Meanwhile, the bank has appealed against the ruling to the Supreme Court.


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