WHETHER EXTRANEOUS MATTERS CAN BE USED TO MODIFY A WRITTEN AGREEMENT

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CASE TITLE: ANCHOR MARINE & OIL LTD v. ALUMINIUM SMELTER COMPANY OF NIGERIA (2019) LPELR-47209(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 12TH APRIL, 2019

PRACTICE AREA: CONTRACT

LEAD JUDGMENT: MUHAMMED LAWAL SHUAIBU, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

INTRODUCTION

This appeal borders on Law of Contract.

FACTS

The provenance of this appeal is in the contract between the parties whereby the respondent herein leased its properties and also supplied diesel to the appellant. The appellant on its part supplied crane services to the respondent. The respondent as plaintiff at the trial Court took out a Writ under the undefended list against the appellant and claimed as follows:-

(a) The sum of $171,582.76 (One Hundred and Seventy One Thousand, Five Hundred and Eighty-Two dollars, Seventy-Six Cents) or N26,639,937.37 (Twenty Six Million, Six Hundred and Thirty-Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty-Seven Naira Thirty Seven Kobo @ N155,256 per dollar being:

(i) $165,848.63 (One Hundred and Sixty-Five Thousand, Eight Hundred and Forty-Eight Dollars, Sixty Three Cents) or Naira equivalent of N25,749,656.70 (Twenty Five Million, Seven Hundred and Forty-Nine Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty-Six Naira, Seventy Kobo @ N155,256 per dollar.

(ii) $1,576.48 or Naira equivalent of N244,765.00 per dollar, representing the supply of diesel as invoices.

(iii) $4,157.64 or Naira equivalent of N645,515.67 @ N155.256 per dollar.
(iv) 10% interest on the total amount until the same is paid.

The appellant as defendant filed a notice of intention to defend and based on which the case was transferred to the general cause list. Parties thereafter filed and exchanged pleadings. After the settlement of issues, the matter proceeded to trial.

At the end of the trial, in a reserved and considered judgment the learned trial judge entered judgment in favour of the respondent and granted the all reliefs claimed. The appellant being dissatisfied with the said judgment appealed against same.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION

The appellant distilled two issues for determination as follows:-

  1. Whether from the totality of the evidence before the trial Court the respondent proved his case against the appellant and entitled to the claims awarded to him by the trial Court? (Distilled from grounds 1, additional grounds 1 and 2).
  2. Whether the suit at the trial Court was not an abuse of Court process? (Distilled from ground 3).

On its part, the respondent formulated a lone issue for the determination of the appeal thus:-

Whether the claimant/Respondent proved its case (in pleadings, evidence and documents) within the law at the trial Court against the appellant to be entitled to its claims?

DECISION/HELD

On the whole, the Court of Appeal held that the appeal lacked merit and it was dismissed.

RATIOS:

  • CONTRACT- WRITTEN CONTRACT: Whether extraneous matters can be used to modify a written agreement
  • EVIDENCE- EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE: Factors to be considered when evaluation of evidence is being challenged
  • EVIDENCE- WRITTEN STATEMENT ON OATH: Position of the law as regards an adopted written statement on oath
  • EVIDENCE- DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE: Effect of a document rejected in evidence
  • EVIDENCE- CONTRADICTION IN EVIDENCE: Instance where a piece of evidence will not be contradictory to another

Court of AppealLawPavilionLawPavilion Prime

lawpavilion • April 30, 2019


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