The Federal High Court in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/742/2020 between Wale Taiwo SAN v. Stanbic IBTC Plc. & 4 Ors. restrained Stanbic IBTC Plc from complying with a demand by the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Finance and Banking & Currency to disclose sensitive confidential customer information, particularly foreign exchange transactions conducted through the Plaintiff’s domiciliary account and a class of customers of the 1st Defendant (Stanbic IBTC) represented by the Plaintiff. Other Defendants in the action were the Speaker, House of Representatives, House of Representatives Joint Committee on Finance and Banking & Currency, Clerk of the National Assembly, the National Assembly. Streamsowers & Köhn represented the Plaintiff in the action.
The action specifically challenged two letters issued by the Committee, which were directed at Stanbic IBTC to provide information on transactions made by the Plaintiff regarding Foreign Exchange Allocation using Form A and M for the periods from 2010 to 2019. The House of Representatives intended to use this information to investigate Stanbic IBTC’s compliance with relevant provisions of laws applicable to revenue collections due to the Federal Government.
The Plaintiff argued that the powers granted to the National Assembly under Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria were to enable the National Assembly to legislate on matters within their legislative competence, to correct any defects in existing laws and that the scope of the powers of investigation of the National Assembly did not extend to persons not charged with the responsibility of executing or administering laws enacted by the National Assembly. Further the Plaintiff contended that the 5th Defendant’s (House of Representatives) actions in the letters exceeded the scope of its investigative powers, as it demanded the personal and confidential information of the Plaintiff.
From the judgement of the Court delivered in July 2023, the investigative powers of the National Assembly as provided under Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution must be in relation to a matter in respect of which the National Assembly has the power to make laws and must be directed at persons, authorities, ministries or departments charged or intended to be charged with the duty of executing or administering laws enacted by the National Assembly and or disbursing or administering moneys appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly.
Streamsowers & Köhn team members: Chinasa Unaegbunam FCIArb, Vincent Owhor MCIArb. Regina Khanoba and Favour Osayuwamen.