Blantyre-based business woman, Patricia Mwase has sued National Bank of Malawi (NBM) and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), George Partridge for illegally divulging confidential information to the public and to members of Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) which led to loss of business.
Mwase, Director for licenced Credit Referencing Bureau (CRB) Credit Data Limited, has dragged to court and demand damages from the bank and its chief executive officer for allegedly breaching and failing to respect banker-client confidentiality.
According to documents filed at the Blantyre High Court (Commercial Division) on Wednesday 11th March, 2015 by Mwase’s lawyer, Bruno Matumbi of Excellence Law Partners, Partridge is being accused of allegedly divulging to the public and BAM confidential information that Mwase had an outstanding loan with NBM which she was not servicing.
Partridge and NBM are accused of divulging the confidential information to third parties without seeking consent from the client or without being entitled to divulge said confidential information by any rule of law or practice just to put Mwase’s company, Credit Data CRB Limited, out of credit referencing market.
The case follows investigations by Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) in 2012 which faulted BAM of creating market monopoly by denying other players in the credit referencing bureau sector in preference to one company.
CFTC, in a determination by its Board of Commissioners and its members on allegations of anti-competitive practices by BAM also faulted the association of suspected collusive tendering and bid-rigging when it awarded a contract to CRB Africa Limited despite some of its members being shareholders.
There are only two licenced credit referencing bureaus in Malawi, thus, CRB Africa Limited and Credit Data CRB Limited, a company of which Mwase is director and a shareholder.
Statement of Claim
According to the court documents, Matumbi claims his client experienced shock and psychological trauma and that she suffered loss and damages after Partridge and NBM breached her right to banker-client confidentiality.
Partridge, in the case, is being sued in his personal capacity and as CEO of National Bank of Malawi while the bank has been sued as a banking institution and in its relationship of Banker-Client with Mwase.
“On account of the negligence by the defendants (Partridge and National Bank of Malawi), the plaintiff has suffered special damages,” reads in part the Statement of Claim filed at the court.
Partridge is said to have, while serving as BAM Chairperson and NBM CEO, divulged the information against Mwase in her capacity as director of Credit Data CRB Limited to solely influence the rest of BAM against working with her company which was in competition on the credit referencing market with CRB Africa ltd- a company in which Partridge had direct interest.
“In the year 2012 on a date which the plaintiff (Mwase) cannot exactly ascertain; the 1st defendant (Partridge) in his personal capacity as career banker and being an officer of 2nd defendant (NBM) and representing 2nddefendant, without any lawful excuse or reason known to law, illegally divulged confidential information to the public in general and to members of Bankers Association of Malawi in particular,” reads the Statement of Claim.
Matumbi argues that both Partridge and NBM were derelict in their duty towards his client and therefore negligent in the eyes of the law, adding the bank and its chief executive officer deliberately divulged the confidential information so as to taint Mwase’s image in the eyes of other banking institutions and in the general public.
He further argues that Partridge divulged the confidential information against Mwase, a former NBM employee, out of spite and for anti-trust motives.
He claimed his client suffered social stigma and loss of dignity in the eyes of the public as she is a member of various reputable associations and organizations.
“Following the divulging of the information, all banking institutions who are members of the Bankers Association of Malawi refused to work with or supply credit data Credit Data CRB ltd, a company of which Mwase is employed and is a shareholder. The company failed to operate fully and in turn failed to pay her remuneration.”
Mwase is therefore claiming damages against Partridge and NBM for breach of banker-client confidentiality aside seeking declaration that the illegally divulged confidential information is indeed confidential information covered by banker-client confidentiality.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :