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  • Kwajaffa v. Bank of the North Limited
  • 215
  • 2004-07-12
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Kwajaffa v. Bank of the North Limited

ALI PINDER KWAJAFFA

HUSSANI M. ALIYU

ALI PINDER KWAJAFFA GARAGE LTD.

V

BANK OF THE NORTH LIMITED

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

SALIHU MODIBBO ALFA BELGORE, JSC ( Presided )

IDRIS LEGBO KUTIGI, JSC

AKINTOLA OLUFEMI EJIWUNMI, JSC

DAHIRU MUSDAPHER, JSC (Read the Lead Judgment)

IGNATIUS CHUKWUDI PATS-ACHOLONU, JSC

SC.89/2000

FRIDAY, 14TH MAY, 2004

APPEAL - Appeal to Supreme Court - Need to relate to decision of Court of Appeal - Impropriety of hearing appeals from High Court decisions

APPEAL - Concurrent findings of fact by lower courts - Reluctance of Supreme Court to interfere with

APPEAL - Fresh questions being raised at the Supreme Court Obtaining leave of court to so raise - Conditions precedent to

APPEAL - Fresh questions being raised at the Supreme Court Impropriety of save with leave of court - Rationale for

APPEAL - Party relying on new authorities or argument at the Supreme Court - Propriety of

BANKING LAW - Interest rate - Proof of - Judicial notice of

CONTRACT - Repudiation of - Impropriety of party resiling from his contractual obligation on the pretext of his own illegality

COURT - Functions of as a temple of ethical justice

COURT - Supreme Court - Jurisdiction of - Hearing of appeals from High Court - Impropriety of - Need for appeal to relate to decision of Court of Appeal

EVIDENCE - Evaluation of evidence - Duty on trial court while evaluating - Need to place totality of acceptable testimony on scale of justice

EVIDENCE - Evaluation of evidence - Pre-eminent duty of trial court in respect of - Impropriety of appellate court evaluating evidence

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Declaratory reliefs - When court will not grant

JURISDICTION - Supreme Court - Impropriety of hearing appeals from High Court - Need for appeal to relate to decision of Court of Appeal

NOTABLE PRONOUNCEMENT - Court - Functions of as a temple of ethical justice

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Concurrent findings of fact by lower courts - Reluctance of Supreme Court to interfere with

Issues:

1.             Whether the Court of Appeal was right in law in affirming the decision of the trial High Court that the mortgage agreement between the 2nd appellant and the respondent was valid in law.

2.             Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal were right in law to have granted the 1st relief claimed by the respondent in the counter-claim.

3.             Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal were right in law to hold that the appellants were indebted to the respondents.

4.             Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal were

right in law to hold that the learned trial Judge properly evaluated the evidence proffered in the case.

Facts:

The 3rd appellant, a customer of the respondent bank, was granted overdraft facilities sometimes in 1980. The respondent demanded security for the facility granted pursuant to which the appellants mortgaged to respondent properties covered by certificates BO/1621 and NE/1367 belonging to the 2nd and 1st appellants respectively. A deed of legal mortgage was drawn up with 1st and 2nd appellants as mortgagors. The 2nd appellant was a minor (he was seven years old) when he co-executed the deed with the 1st appellant (his father). When there were outstandings on the facility, the respondent sought to exercise its power of sale. To forestall this, the appellants instituted a suit at the High Court contending their alleged indebtedness to the respondent. They insisted that they had paid up all debits on the account. It was also contended that the deed of legal mortgage was void and ineffective; that the 2nd appellant being a minor could not legally and validly enter into any agreement with the respondent and that he never consented to any matter relating to the transfer of his property. There were disputes on the interest rate charged; other declaratory and injunctive reliefs were sought. The respondent controverted the assertions of the appellant and filed a counter-claim. At the conclusion of trial, the trial court dismissed the claims of the appellants and granted the counter-claim. Dissatisfied, the appellants appealed to the Court of Appeal which court dismissed the appeal.

Still aggrieved, appellants appealed to the Supreme Court where they, amongst other issues, raised issues which were neither raised nor determined by the Court of Appeal.