Customers want bank owners notified of likely hit in Sh2bn suit

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A KCB branch in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Close to 200 customers who are demanding over Sh2 billion from lenders for interest charged on loans decades ago, now want the banks to notify shareholders and investors of the case pending in court.

In a letter to the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), 188 customers of Standard Chartered #ticker:SCBK and Kenya Commercial Bank #ticker:KCB say the lenders should give clear communications to shareholders, investors and Capital Markets Authority on possible liabilities.

“Our clients as retail shareholders of the respective banks aforementioned are concerned in regards whether the provisions that require to be made against the estimated liabilities that may arise consequent upon determinations of the cases in favour of the litigants against the respective banks have been provided for in the books of accounts,” reads the letter by lawyer Wenene & Andama Advocates.

The law firm said in the letter served to KBA on Monday that clear communication and guidance should be given especially to retail shareholders who depend on the dividends incomes from the investments made in the shares of the banks.

The case, which has been in court since 2003, is being handled by Justice Francis Tuiyott and the last time the matter was in court, banks opposed a demand by the account holders to access their bank statements before the main case is heard.

The litigants, among them lawyer Jennifer Shamalla argued that it was their right to access the statements and the right to fair hearing.

More than 40 banks through the KBA have opposed the suit and want it dismissed.

The case was initially filed by Ms Rose Florence Wanjiru but more account holders and borrowers were allowed to join the matter. They argued that they suffered while repaying their loans, after changes were introduced to interest rates, in contravention of the law.

Ms Wanjiru is seeking a refund of Sh38,960 from Standard Chartered Bank, which she said was illegally levied arguing that the bank had not obtained approval from the Minister of Finance, to do so as required by law.