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Royal Exchange Assurance Nig. Ltd v. Sangoleye

ROYAL EXCHANGE ASSURANCE NIGERIA LIMITED

V

VICTOR BABASOLA SANGOYELE

COURT OF APPEAL

( LAGOS DIVISION )

ATINUKE OMOBONIKE IGE,  J.C.A. ( Presided )

SULEIMAN GALADIMA,  J.C.A.

AMIRU SANUSI,  J.C.A. ( Read the Leading Judgment )

CA/L/243/90

THURSDAY, 27TH JANUARY, 2000

CONTRACT - Agreement on the review of gratuity and pension - No provision for a prior approval of Joint Tax Board - Whether prior approval of Board required for enforceability of Agreement.

CONTRACT - Agreement on the review of gratuity and pension - Party paying gratuity on the basis of agreement - Party refusing to pay pension on that basis alleging need for prior approval of Joint Tax Board - Effect of paying gratuity without such prior approval

EVIDENCE - Evidence on facts not pleaded - Effect

PLEADINGS - Facts not pleaded -  Evidence given in respect of - Effect

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Pleadings - Evidence on facts not pleaded -

Effect

Issue:

Whether on the evidence before the court, the approval of Joint Tax Board is a condition precedent to the operation of the collective agreement dated 30 th November, 1979 on the review of gratuity and pension between the Appellant and Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employers.

Facts:

By a writ of summons filed at the Lagos Judicial Division of High Court of Lagos State, the Respondent (Plaintiff at the trial court) claimed against the Appellant the sum of N5,405.40 being the pension due to him for the period 1st September, 1980  to 28th February, 1982 and thereafter the sum of N300.00 per month for life, and  interest thereon at 6% from 1/9/80 when the pension became due till date of judgment, and thereafter interest at the rate of 121/2% until payment. Pleadings were filed and exchanged and later amended by parties with leave of court.  The Respondent’s case was that he was a senior member of staff of the Appellant company and retired on 31st August, 1980 after putting in 25 years of service.  Before his retirement, the Appellant’s management, in a meeting with the worker’s union  of the company held on 30/11/79 agreed on the revision of the Rules of Pension and Gratuity Scheme of the company and backdated the effective date of the review to 1 st July, 1979.  Based on the agreement, he was paid his gratuity on the reviewed rate.  He was, however, offered a lower sum for his pension which he rejected. When the Appellant refused to bulge, he filed this suit.  The Appellant’s case on the other hand was that the meeting of 31/11/79 was simply to amend the Rules governing gratuity and pension and that the benefits agreed upon on that day was not to become effective until they were approved by the Joint Tax Board.  The Appellant also contended that the sum paid to the Respodent on the basis of the newly agreed scheme was a gesture of kindness.

After trial, the trial court (Coram Agoro, J.) found that the parties had  reached complete and binding agreement on all essential matters at the meeting of 30/11/ 79 .  He, therefore, allowed the Respondent’s claims save that on interest, Aggrieved, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.