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  • Afribank Plc. v. A. Ishola Investment Ltd
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  • 2003-02-10
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Afribank Plc. v. A. Ishola Investment Ltd

AFRIBANK NIGERIA PLC

V

AMINU ISHOLA INVESTMENT LTD.

COURT OF APPEAL

( ILORIN DIVISION )

MURITALA AREMU OKUNOLA, JCA ( Presided )

PATRICK IBE AMAIZU, JCA

WALTER SAMUEL NKANU ONNOGHEN, JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

APPEAL NO. CA/IL/42/2000

MONDAY, 10 TH DECEMBER,  2001

ACTION - Breach of contract and defamation - Whether wrongful dishonour of cheque can ground action for

ACTION - Cause of action - Meaning of - Whether two or more causes of action are maintainable in one suit

ACTION - Detinue - Action in detinue - Nature of

APPEAL - Findings of fact of trial court - How respondent can challenge on appeal

BANKING - Banker - Failure of to pay customer’s cheque - Effect - Whether amounts to a breach of contract

BANKING - Banker - Where acts as bailee - Whether liable for conversion and detinue

BANKING - Banker - Whether can be liable for conversion and detinue.

BANKING - Banker/customer relationship - Contract therein - Breach of Whether exemplary damages is recoverable therefor

BANKING - Cheque - Wrongful dishonour of - What amounts to - Whether claims for defamation and breach of contract can be brought against same in a single suit

BANKING - Banker as bailee - Liability of - Whether can be liable for conversion and detinue

BANKING - Banking contract - Breach of - Measure of damages for breach of contract in respect of current or deposit account

BANKING -Interest - Nature of award of - When and how claimed as of right - How provision for review of interest in an agreement is interpreted

BANKING - Interest - Whether interest on deposit account is same as lending rate - Whether interest regime in other banks should be relied upon for upward review of interest otherwise subject to negotiation

BANKING - Interest - Whether interest on deposit account is same as lending interest - Whether interest regime in other banks should be relied upon for upward review of interest otherwise subject to negotiation

CONTRACT - Banking contract - Breach of - Measure of damages for breach of contract in respect of current or deposit account

CONTRACT - Breach of contract - Damages recoverable for - Award of interest for breach of contract - Nature of

CONTRACT - Breach of contract - Detinue - Whether can occur the same time

COURT - Trial Court - Award of damages made by - When appellate court will review same

DAMAGES - Award of by trial court - When appellate court will review same

DAMAGES - Breach of contract and tortious liability  - Whether damages can be awarded in respect of

DAMAGES - Double compensation - How regarded by law

DAMAGES - Exemplary damages - Whether recoverable for breach of contract in banker/customer relationship

DAMAGES - Need to plead and prove same

DEFAMATION  - Wrongful dishonour of cheque - Whether can ground action in defamation as well as breach of contract

TORT - Conversion - Whether money can be accounted goods or chattels that can be converted

TORT - Conversion and detinue - Whether a banker can be liable for

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Cause of action’  - Meaning of

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Chattel’ - Meaning of

Issues:

1.            Whether the plaintiff’s cause of action is founded in contract or in tort of detinue and whether the learned trial Judge was right to have assessed damages for breach of contract and detinue instead of contract only.

2.            Whether the further award of N2 million damages did not amount to double compensation in view of the earlier award for loss of interest.

3.            Whether the learned trial Judge was right in awarding interest at rates higher than 12.25% specifically agreed to by the parties.

Facts:

The respondent/plaintiff maintained a fixed deposit account with the appellant/defendant in August 1988 and it was agreed that the defendant would be paying 12.25% per annum on the deposit until an upward review is done at the end of the year by negotiation.

On October 1988, the respondent repudiated the fixed deposit agreement and gave notice of its intention to withdraw the whole deposit but the appellant refused to give the respondent access to the money on the ground that it had received instructions from the Central Bank of Nigeria to freeze the respondent’s account.

Dissatisfied with the action, the respondent sued the appellant claiming inter alia refund of his deposit plus interest at the rate of 12.25% till November 1989 , special damages at the rate of 25% till the date of judgment and N 20 million as general damages for breach of contract and wrongful detention of the money. The trial High Court heard the parties and entered judgment for the plaintiff/respondent and awarded N2 million as general damages as well as the return of the sum in the deposit account.

Dissatisfied, the defendant has filed this appeal.