The Tuobodom District Court has imposed fines totalling GH¢5,200.00 on Bayport Financial Services Limited for assessing the personal data of an employee of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Mr Iddrisu Neindow Baba, without his consent and unlawfully processing a loan in his name.
The Magistrate, Mr Abdul-Baki Abdulai, fined the company in his ruling in a suit filed by Baba in which he claimed breaches of the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843) and the Banking Act, 2004 (Act 673).
Facts made available before the court indicated that Bayport has a subsidiary company known as Consumer Finance Company (CFC) which engages in the business of lending money to its customers.
In January 2017, the plaintiff applied for a loan from CFC which was granted, but in August 2017, the defendant processed a second loan in the plaintiff’s name without his consent.
By doing so, Bayport electronically blocked access to Baba’s affordability on the payroll website of the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD).
That, according to the facts, resulted in a situation in which neither the plaintiff nor other financial institutions would be able to use the website to determine Baba’s affordability to repay loans.
In order to show that the second loan was processed in his name without his consent, Baba argued that for the CAGD to accept to effect monthly deduction from the salary of a government employee, the employee must sign a document referred to as GOG Employee Mandate Form (GOGEMF) authorising the CACG office to effect deductions.
Even though the plaintiff tendered in evidence a GOGEMF in respect of the first loan he obtained from the CFC on January 23, 2018, he contended that in respect of the second loan, he did not sign any GOGEMF to authorise deductions from his salary.
Baba said he rather disclosed his password to the defendant’s agent called Catherine during his application for an ATM card, adding that he also disclosed his employee staff number and other details to the defendant when he was effecting a change of his bankers.
According to him, the defendant, upon obtaining the password and his other particulars, used them unlawfully to access his personal information and process a loan in his name.
In his ruling, Mr Abdulai said the totality of evidence before the court indicated that the plaintiff was entitled to damages for Bayport’s unlawful conduct in raising a loan in Baba’s name and blocking his affordability without his consent.
He, therefore, fined the company GH¢500.00 for the unlawful access to the plaintiff’s data, GH¢4,000.00 general damages for the defendant’s unlawful conduct in raising a loan in the plaintiff’s name and blocking his affordability without his consent and GH¢700.00 cost.