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  • Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund vs. I.F.M.S. Ltd.
  • 155
  • 2003-05-19
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Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund vs. I.F.M.S. Ltd.

PETROLEUM (SPECIAL) TRUST FUND

V

INTEGRATED FACILITY MANAGEMENT SERVICES LIMITED

COURT OF APPEAL

( ABUJA DIVISION )

M. S. MUNTAKA-COOMASSIE, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

ZAINAB ADAMU BULKACHUWA, JCA

ALBERT GBADEBO ODUYEMI, JCA

CA/A/97/2000

MONDAY, 15TH APRIL, 2002

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Fair hearing - Trial - Denial of hearing Whether can be alleged by a party who fails to submit his case for hearing

COURT - State High Court and Federal High Court - Whether have concurrent jurisdiction on claims for damages, injunction or specific performance

EVIDENCE - Unchallenged evidence - Decision based thereon - Whether can be faulted

FAIR HEARING - Fair hearing - Breach of - Whether can be raised by a party who fails to utilise opportunity of being heard

FAIR HEARING - Trial - Denial of hearing - Whether can be alleged by a party who fails to submit his case for hearing

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Decision based on unchallenged evidence of plaintiff - Whether can be faulted


JURISDICTION - Jurisdiction of court - State High Court and Federal High Court - Whether have concurrent jurisdiction on claims for damages, injunction or specific performance

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Trial - Denial of alleged by a party who failed to submit his case for hearing - Impropriety of

Issues:

1.            Whether the respondent discharged the burden of proof placed on it to prove its claims before the lower court to entitle it to judgment.

2.            Whether the trial High Court has jurisdiction to determine this case. If the answer is in the positive, whether the defendant/appellant was afforded the opportunity to be heard in the circumstances of this case.

Facts:

The plaintiff/respondent sought N45,309,723.18k as money due for unpaid services rendered; 10% interest on the said unpaid sum, indemnity, injunction and damages against the defendant/appellant.

The plaintiff/respondent testified through one Ahmed Abubakar that by a renewable agreement, the plaintiff was to manage the facilities of the defendant at its Head Office Complex consisting of 63 residential houses. The services to be rendered include clearing, gardening, horticulture, hiring of generators, airconditioners, electrical installations, mechanical plumbing, security gadgets, structure and fabric, fittings and fixtures etc. Invoices for services rendered were made every three months. After submission of the end of year report, the defendant refused to renew the plaintiff’s appointment. Consequent upon which the plaintiff withdrew its staff from the defendant’s premises. Inspite of series of demand notices sent by the plaintiff to the defendant, the defendant still refused to pay for the services rendered between January, 1999 and December, 1999.

The court adjourned the matter for cross-examination of the plaintiff’s witness (at the instance of the defendant) to 24/7/2000. On the said date neither the defendant nor its counsel was in court but with explanation. The matter was further adjourned to 1/8/2000 for defence. On the said date, inspite of being served with hearing notice, both the defendant and its counsel were not in court.

The trial court gave judgment in favour of the plaintiff based on the evidence before the court. It is against the said judgment that the defendant/ appellant filed this appeal.