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  • F. A. T. B. Ltd. vs. Partnership Investment Co. Ltd.
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  • 2004-02-02
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F. A. T. B. Ltd. vs. Partnership Investment Co. Ltd.

FIRST AFRICAN TRUST BANK LTD.

V

PARTNERSHIP INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

IDRIS LEGBO KUTIGI, JSC ( Presided )

UTHMAN MOHAMMED, JSC

ANTHONY IKECHUKWU IGUH, JSC

AKINTOLA OLUFEMI EJIWUNMI, JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

DAHIRU MUSDAPHER, JSC

SC.293/2001

FRIDAY, 12TH DECEMBER, 2003

APPEAL - Appellate court - When may interfere with the judgment of court below

BANKING - Cheques drawn on a banker - When a banker is duty bound to pay

BANKING AND FINANCE - ‘Draft’ - Meaning of

BANKING AND FINANCE - Bill or note - Failure of consideration for which same is signed - Effect of

BANKING AND FINANCE - Draft - Payee thereof - Duty of banker thereto

BANKING AND FINANCE - Promissory note - Payee who gave no consideration thereunder - Whether has any claim as a creditor CONTRACT - Fraud - Instance and effect of on contract

COURT - Appellate court - When may interfere with the judgment of court below

EVIDENCE - Presumption - Presumption of valuable consideration for bills of exchange and promissory notes - Whether rebuttable

EVIDENCE - Proof - Bank loan transaction and or purchase of company shares - How proved

EVIDENCE - Proof - Burden of proof of a particular fact - On whom lies - Whether static

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Judgment of court below - When appellate court may interfere therewith

JUDICIAL PRECEDENT - U.B.A. vs. Ibhafidon and Logricom vs. UBN distinguished from the instant case WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Draft’ - Meaning of

Issues:

1.              Whether in the circumstances of this case the appellant is obliged to pay the respondent on exhibit P1 when the Court of Appeal had found that the pleadings and evidence of the appellant on want of value had not been controverted nor seriously challenged by the respondent.

2.              Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal were right in holding that the appellant had not sufficiently pleaded nor proved the fraud which the appellant alleged in this case.

3.              Whether in the absence of a written endorsement of the condition precedent on the draft, the appellant is not permitted by law to prove that the delivery of the draft was subject to a condition precedent and whether the condition ought not to bind the respondent who is a nominee of Alhaji Ladan with whom the appellant entered into an agreement for the supply of forex.

4.              Whether the respondent was required by law to show that it had given consideration for the draft before it could be paid.

5.              Whether the alleged fraud had been particularised as required by law and proved”.

Facts:

The appellant bank was approached by one Alhaji Tijani Ladan, sometimes in February 1995. The said Alhaji Ladan in the company of

Alhaji Abubakar of Damco Bureau De Change had a meeting with the officials of the appellant. During that meeting the visitors offered to sell on the autonomous market a sum of $500,000.00. As the representatives of the appellant became interested in the offer, it was agreed with the offerors that the said sum would be bought by the appellant for the sum of N15,000,000.00 (fifteen million naira). At the request of Alhaji Tijani, the appellant also agreed that it would issue two cheques (bank drafts) for the sum of N15,000,000.00 as follows:-

(1)          for the sum of N7.9 million Naira in favour of Nigeria Universal Bank, and

(2)          the second cheque (bank draft) for the sum of N7.1 million naira in favour of the appellant.

It was a term of the agreement that the two bank drafts would not be presented for payment until the sum of $500,000.00 has been transferred and received into the foreign account of the appellant bank.

Contrary to the terms of the agreement, the draft for N7.1 million was presented for payment before the $500,000.00 (Dollars) was paid into the foreign account of the appellant. As this action was contrary to the agreement reached between the appellant and Alhaji Ladan, the bank draft was not paid. It was returned and marked “represent”. The other bank draft for N7.9 million was similarly treated. Despite that treatment of the cheques, the sum of $500,000.00 (dollars) that was promised by the offerrors namely, Alhaji Abubakar and Alhaji Ladan remained unpaid into the account of the appellant. The bank draft for N7.1 million was however stopped by the appellant to prevent a fraud on itself.

Respondent on the basis of the unpaid bank draft of N7.1 million commenced the action leading to this appeal at the High Court of Lagos. At the conclusion of trial, the respondent was awarded its claim for the sum of N7,100,000.00 being the value of the bank draft issued by the appellant in favour of the respondent with interest at the rate of 21% per annum from the 8th of February 1995 until the date of the judgment, and thereafter at the rate of 10% per annum until the judgment debt is fully paid.

Dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial court, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal (Lagos Division). In that court, the appellant was also unsuccessful and has therefore appealed to this court.