ON WHOM SHOULD THE ONUS OF PROVING PAYMENT OF RENT LIE?
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CASE TITLE: FIRST BANK v. MANAGEMENT EDUCATION AND TRAINING LTD (2019) LPELR-47502(CA)
JUDGMENT DATE: 15TH MAY, 2019
PRACTICE AREA: BANKING LAW
LEAD JUDGMENT: UGOCHUKWU ANTHONY OGAKWU, J.C.A.
SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:
This appeal borders on Banking Law.
This appeal is against the judgment of the High Court of Lagos State delivered on 5th May 2015 by Lawal-Akapo, J.
This appeal arose from a banker/customer relationship. The Respondent, a customer of the Appellant bank, applied for a banking facility from the Appellant using the share certificates of its Director as the security for the facility. The facility was eventually not disbursed by the Appellant on the ground that on account of the downturn in the stock market the company shares were not adequate security.
The Respondent contending that the Appellant was negligent in exercising its duty of care to it as a result of which it had suffered damages in its business instituted proceedings at the High Court of Lagos State in SUIT NO. LD/944/2009: MANAGEMENT EDUCATION AND TRAINING LIMITED vs. FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA PLC claiming the following reliefs:
(a) SPECIAL DAMAGES of N7,792,466 to be paid by the defendant to the claimant for loss of the value of the shares from 9th September 2008 that defendant acknowledged receiving the shares as security to 16th February 2009 that the claimant lost hope of securing the facility.
(b) GENERAL DAMAGES of N5Million to be paid by the defendant to the claimant.
(c) AN ORDER directing the defendant to return the entire share securities to the claimant.
The Appellant as Defendant at the High Court counterclaimed against the Respondent for the following reliefs:
1. The sum of N592,133.01 being the outstanding overdrawn facilities granted to the Claimant as at May 18, 2010, with interest on the said outstanding overdrawn facilities at the rate of 20% per annum from 28/11/2007 till Judgment and thereafter at the same rate until Judgment sum is fully satisfied.
2. The sum of N1,533,491.24DR being the outstanding overdrawn facilities granted to the 2nd Defendant as a personal loan with interest on the said outstanding balance at the rate of 20% per annum from 28/11/2007 till Judgment and thereafter at the same rate until Judgment sum is fully satisfied.
3. The cost of this action is assessed by the Court.
The parties filed and exchanged pleadings and the case was subjected to a plenary trial at which testimonial and documentary evidence was adduced. In its judgment delivered on 5th May 2015, the High Court entered judgment for the Respondent and dismissed the Appellant’s counterclaim.
The Appellant being dissatisfied with the decision of the High Court appealed to the Court of Appeal.
ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION
The Court determined the appeal on the following issues as formulated by the appellant:
1. Whether the trial Court was right when it held that there was a contract between the parties to borrow or grant loan facility to the tune of N10 million?
2. Whether the trial Court was right when it ordered the Appellant to return forthwith the shares and stock deposited with CSCS (Central Security Clearing System Limited)?
3. Whether the trial Court was right when it held that the Counter-Claim having not been proved is dismissed?
4. Whether the Appellant’s constitutional right guaranteed by Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution was not breached when the learned trial judge foreclosed the right of the Appellant to cross-examine the Respondent’s only witness on 4th June 2012?
5. Whether the trial Court was right in delivering his Judgment outside the 3 months allowed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999?
In conclusion, the Court held that the appeal lacked merit and the same was dismissed.
EVIDENCE- DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE: Whether a statement of account alone can be used to prove the indebtedness of a customer for the overall debit balance to a bank
EVIDENCE- ADMISSION AGAINST INTEREST: Conditions that must be met before an admission against interest can attract probative value
JUDGMENT AND ORDER- DELIVERY OF JUDGMENT: Whether the decision of a Court shall be set aside or treated as a nullity solely on the ground of non-compliance with the required time frame for delivery
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE- HEARING NOTICE: Whether hearing notice must be issued or served on a party who already knows or is reasonably presumed to have known of the date on which a matter is slated for hearing.