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  • Daniel Holdings Ltd. vs. U.B.A. Plc.
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  • 2005-09-19
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Daniel Holdings Ltd. vs. U.B.A. Plc.

DANIEL HOLDINGS LTD.

V

UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA PLC

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

SALIHU MODIBBO ALFA BELGORE JSC ( Presided )

ALOYSIUS IYORGYER KATSINA-ALU JSC

DAHIRU MUSDAPHER JSC

GEORGE ADESOLA OGUNTADE JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

SUNDAY AKINOLA AKINTAN JSC

SC. 10/2001

FRIDAY, 1ST JULY, 2005

ACTION - Writ of summons - Claims therein - Effect of not repeating same in the statement of claim

APPEAL - Concurrent findings of fact by lower courts - Attitude of Supreme Court

COURT - Supreme Court - Concurrent findings of fact of lower courts -  Attitude of thereto

DAMAGES - Special damages - Need to specifically claim and strictly prove

INTEREST - Award of interest by court - Plaintiff claiming at the prevailing market rate - Need to call evidence on prevailing rate of interest to be entitled to

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Writ of summons - Claims therein Effect of not repeating same in the statement of claim

Issues:

1.              Whether the court below was right to have reduced the amount awarded from N93,846.50 to N68,541.50.

2.              Whether the court below was correct in failing to award any interest in favour of the plaintiff/appellant.

3.              Whether the cross-appellant/respondent has not shown by credible evidence on record (particularly) in view of the alterations and/or falsification evident on the counterfoils tendered as exhibits 1 - 7 vis-à-vis the original copies tendered as exhibits 26 - 29 that a different sum of money was actually received from plaintiff/appellant as against the sums purportedly acknowledged on the counterfoils.

Facts:

The plaintiff/appellant a trading company had its account at defendant/ respondent/cross-appellant’s Lagos East branch, Lagos and on a regular basis lodged in its account with the respondent, the proceeds from its business.

Normally, the appellant filled in a bank teller, consisting of the bank’s copy (or original) and the customer’s copy (or counterfoil), the amount it intended to pay. This was taken to the bank by appellant’s employees and lodged with respondent’s officials or counter-clerks who in acknowledgment of the transaction affixed the bank’s stamp impression on both the original and counterfoil and the receiving counter-clerk then appended his signature or initials on both the original and counterfoil.

The appellant alleged that between 1st February, 1987 and 1st July, 1989 , the amount credited into its account when contrasted with the payments made and the counterfoils of the tellers used in making such payments showed a shortfall of N93,846.50 (ninety-three thousand, eight hundred and forty-six naira, fifty kobo). The respondent denied this and contended that the stamp used on the counterfoil tellers did not belong to it and that its staff did not initial any false entries contained in those tellers. They also denied that there was any shortfall between the amount actually recorded in the original tellers and the amount credited into appellant’s account.

The appellant therefore instituted an action against the respondent claiming the sum of N93,846.50 (ninety-three thousand, eight hundred and forty-six naira, fifty kobo). Parties filed and exchanged pleadings. The trial court from the evidence adduced by the parties came to the conclusion that the stamp impressions on the counterfoils of the tellers with which appellant made the payments were the respondent’s and the respondent’s employees initialled the counterfoils.

In its judgment, the court granted appellant’s claim and interest at

21 % from 1st January, 1991 till date of judgment and 7% from date of judgment until the amount is liquidated. Dissatisfied, the respondent appealed to the Court of Appeal which court partially allowed the appeal. It set aside the order awarding interest and reduced the principal sum from N93,846.50 ( ninety-three thousand, eight hundred and forty-six naira, fifty kobo) to N68,541.50 (sixty-eight thousand, five hundred and forty-one naira, fifty kobo).

Dissatisfied with the judgment, the appellant appealed to the Supreme Court. The respondent also cross-appealed.