Court name
Commercial Court of Uganda
Judgment date
14 July 2014

Best Connect Tours And Travel (U) Ltd v Stanbic Bank Ltd (Civil Suit-2010/172) [2014] UGCommC 97 (14 July 2014);

Cite this case
[2014] UGCommC 97

THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA,

IN THE HIGH COURT OF UGANDA AT KAMPALA

(COMMERCIAL DIVISION)

CIVIL SUIT NO 172 OF 2010

BEST CONNECT TOURS AND TRAVE (U) LIMITED}..................................PLAINTIFF

VS

STANBIC BANK LIMITED}..................................................................DEFENDANT

BEFORE HON. MR. JUSTICE CHRISTOPHER MADRAMA IZAMA

JUDGMENT

The Plaintiff filed this action for declaratory orders that freezing its account number 0140027076601 with the Defendant was unlawful, an order to allow it operate its account, damages for inconvenience, interest on all pecuniary awards and costs of the suit.

The facts of the case averred in the plaint are that the Plaintiff is engaged in the business of tour operation in Uganda. Sometime in March 2009, the Plaintiff and the Defendant executed a merchant agreement for the acceptance of MasterCard, Visa debit cards as a form of payment by customers for services and goods consumed while in Uganda. All transactions or payments were to be routed through the Defendant bank as the clearing medium and the Defendant was entitled to a commission agreed upon on all credit and debit card transactions. The Plaintiff was provided by the Defendant with a machine for use to facilitate the transactions and the Plaintiffs account was 0140027076601 with the Defendant for the purpose. Sometime in May 2009, the Defendant blocked or froze all operations on the said account without furnishing the Plaintiff with any reason and the Plaintiff complained to the Defendant but the Defendant only procured a court order in a criminal court blocking the account and those of other merchant agreement operators for six months. Though the six months expired, the Defendant has not unfrozen the Plaintiffs account. The Plaintiff avers that at all material times it demanded for the unfreezing of its account but to no avail and that at the time of the freezing of its account Uganda shillings 88,800,000 was credited on its account. The actions of the Defendant are unlawful and unjustified and in breach of the duty owed to a customer by a bank. Secondly the Plaintiff has been denied the use of the money by the Defendant which caused inconvenience and loss to the Plaintiff for which the Plaintiff claims general damages.

The Plaintiff seeks orders that a declaration issues that the blocking or freezing of operations on its account number 0140027076601 is unlawful. Secondly an order for the unfreezing of operations on the said account; general damages for breach of banker/customer relationship and inconvenience and loss suffered. Interest at the rate of 30% per annum on all pecuniary awards from May 2009 until full payment; costs of the suit and any other relief as this court may deem fit to grant.

Generally the Defendant denied the averments of the Plaintiff but contends in paragraph 6 of the written statement of defence that paragraph 4 (b) (c) and (d) are admitted. Secondly the Defendant maintains that the freezing of the Plaintiffs account was justified. An order was extracted from court blocking all transactions in respect of the P