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  • Pioneer Milling Co. Ltd. vs. Nansing
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  • 2003-04-21
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Pioneer Milling Co. Ltd. vs. Nansing

1.      PIONEER MILLING CO. LTD

2.      JOS INTERNATIONAL BREWERIES PLC.

3.      MR. JAMES BARMINAS

V

MR. EMMANUEL NANSING

COURT OF APPEAL

( JOS DIVISION )

ALOMA M. MUKHTAR, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

AMIRU SANUSI, JCA

IFEYINWA CECILIA NZEAKO, JCA

CA/J/304/99

MONDAY, 9TH DECEMBER, 2002

APPEAL -  Grounds of Appeal - Grounds clearly stating appellant’s complaint - Whether competent without complying with rules of court

APPEAL - Issues for determination - Issue not sourced from grounds of appeal - Effect of

DAMAGES - Special damages - Need to strictly prove same

DAMAGES - General damages - Whether employee in an action predicated upon master and servant relationship can claim general damages

FAIR HEARING - Respondent in this suit- Whether was given fair hearing

MASTER AND SERVANT - Action predicated upon master/servant relationship - Whether employee can claim for general damages therein


PLEADINGS - Facts and evidence - Requirement to plead facts, not evidence PLEADINGS - General traverse of pleadings - Whether allowed

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Misconduct - Conduct or act amounting thereto - Who determines

Issues:

1.            Whether there was any basis for awarding the sum of N200,000.00 as general damages plus cost of action in favour of the plaintiff.

2.            Whether the paintiff proved his case to be entitled to judgment.

3.            Whether the lower court was right in holding that the plaintiff’s dismissal was wrongful.

Facts:

The respondent herein was employed by the second defendant company on 22/7/83 as a tally clerk. He worked in the company for 13 years and rose to the rank of Senior Manager within the accounts department. The plaintiff, was dismissed vide a letter dated 23/10/96, which transferred him to the 1st defendant to whom it became answerable. On 13/12/96, the 3rd defendant accused the plaintiff of act of gross misconduct against the 2nd defendant, vide a letter of query, but the said defendant acted ultra vires as he was not an employee of the 1st defendant. A panel that did not include the 1st defendant was set up to try him and the panel found the plaintiffs guilty of gross misconduct against the 2nd defendant who had ceased to be his employers. According to the plaintiff he was not given a fair hearing. Purporting to act on the recommendation of the panel, the 3rd defendant issued the plaintiff with a letter of summary dismissal, the dismissal of which the plaintiff claims is illegal, null and void. He thereby instituted this action at the lower court claiming among others, a declaration that the summary dismissal is illegal, null and void or in the alternative special and general damages for wrongful dismissal. The defendants in their joint amended statement of defence asserted that the plaintiff was transferred to the defendant, a subsidiary of the 2nd defendant in accordance with schedule of duties of the Human Resources Controller, and the letter 23/10/96 was a mere letter of transfer and not termination.

According to the defendants the plaintiff’s appointment was terminated because he circulated photocopies of cheques which he obtained without the authority of the 1st or 2nd defendant in order to put them into ridicule, and when he was confronted with the allegations by his Head of Department he threw the photocopies of the cheques on the Head of Department.

At the end of trial, the trial court found the dismissal of the respondent from the employment of the appellants wrongful.

Aggrieved by the decision the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.