The Kenya Bankers Association has opposed an application by close to 200 account holders seeking to be supplied with bank statements as they pursue compensation arising from illegal interest charges decades ago.
The case, which has been dragging on in court since 2003, seeks compensation for interest rates that were charged on loans without the Finance minister’s approval as required by the law. More than 40 banks through the KBA have opposed the suit and even argued all the way to the Supreme Court, against the case.
The case was initially filed by Rose Florence Wanjiru but she later argued for any account holder and borrowers to join the matter.
The account holders claim that they suffered while repaying their loans, after changes were introduced on 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 did not obtain approval from the minister of Finance to levy the charges as required by law.
The latest application by the banks opposed the 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.
Alternatively, the banks said the account holders should pay to get the statements but the court heard that some of them run into hundreds of pages, a move that would be costly to them.
Justice Francis Tuiyot will rule on the application and give his direction on the matter on February 27.
The High Court initially dismissed the matter but the Court of Appeal later revived it in a ruling that found that the judge erred when he threw out the case.
Banks later opposed the application by Ms Wanjiru to allow other litigants who suffered similar fate but it was dismissed, forcing the case to head to the appellate court and later to the Supreme Court.
The KBA argued in the application before the Court of Appeal that the High Court judge had erred in failing to strike out the case, on the basis that JK Wanyela, who was being sued on behalf of KBA as a representative of 43 commercial banks, without complying with court rules and procedures.