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PATRICK OSESA v. TULIP COCOA PROCESSING LIMITED

(2018) LPELR-45003(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Tuesday, the 17th day of July, 2018

CA/B/363/2013


Before Their Lordships

SAMUEL CHUKWUDUMEBI OSEJI Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

MOORE ASEIMO ABRAHAM ADUMEIN Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

MUDASHIRU NASIRU ONIYANGI Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

PATRICK OSESA - Appellant(s)

AND

TULIP COCOA PROCESSING LTD - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Civil Procedure.
FACTS:
This appeal is against the judgment of the High Court of Edo State delivered by E.A. Edigin, J. In summary, the facts of the case as presented by the Appellant was that he was a produce buyer and in 1991 the Respondent appointed him a cocoa buying agent in Uhom-Ora, Edo State under certain terms and conditions as agreed to by the parties. This included the defendant advancing money to him for the purchase of the cocoa during the cocoa season and which money is secured by the collateral wherein the Appellant handed over the particulars of his Mercedes Tipper Lorry, Mercedes Benz V Boot Saloon Car and the C of O of his land to the Defendant. The Appellant was required to purchase and supply good grade cocoa beans to the Defendant's ware house in Lagos. The grading and certification of the cocoa was done by the officials of the Edo State Ministry of Agriculture in the presence of the Defendant's field officer. ???

The Defendant also determined the price to be paid by the Appellant for the purchase of the cocoa and it fluctuates, depending on market forces. The Appellant stated that he also entered into an oral agreement with the Defendant for the haulage of the cocoa from Uhom-Ora to Lagos at the rate of N3.50k per kilo weight of cocoa which the Defendant is to pay to him each time he conveys cocoa to its warehouse in Lagos. However, between 2001 and 2004 he was not reimbursed by the Defendant for the haulage he made which amounts to the sum of N10,269,144.00. For the same period, he supplied the Defendant cocoa to the tune of N363,744,906.00 but he was paid N353,448,358.00 leaving a balance of the sum of N10,116,548.00. He variously demanded for the payment of the outstanding amount owed to him but the Defendant kept telling him to hold on and kept giving different excuses. Also throughout the period he supplied cocoa to the Defendant there was never a complaint that the cocoa he supplied was bad or below the required grade. Due to the pressure he put on the Defendant to pay him the amount owed, he was invited to Lagos but on arrival he was arrested by the police on the ground that he owed the Defendant the sum of N2,146,000.00. He was later released on bail and upon arrival to Uhom-Ora the Defendant's officials came to his house and removed his Mercedes Benz V Boot car and other documents and which car the Defendant eventually sold, hence he commenced the action by a writ of summons dated 19/1/2005. The Respondent also filed a counterclaim.

At the conclusion of hearing, judgment was delivered by the High Court on the 25th day of September, 2012 wherein the Appellant's claim was granted in part while the Respondent's counterclaim was dismissed. The Appellant being dissatisfied, appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The Court of Appeal determined the appeal on the issues raised by the Appellant and couched as follows:

1. Whether in view of the state of pleadings and evidence adduced at the trial, the Appellant failed to prove his claim for the cost of cocoa supplied and haulage fees.
2. Whether the trial Court properly evaluated the evidence adduced at the trial, in holding that the Appellant did not prove his case on the preponderance of evidence save for the claim for his V Boot Mercedes Benz Car.

DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal in part. Except for the order of dismissal of the Appellant's claim for the sum of N10,116,548.00 which was thereby set aside, the judgment of the High Court of Edo State delivered on the 25th day of September, 2012 was affirmed.


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