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ECOBANK NIGERIA PLC v. ONADIRAN HAKEEM KUNLE & ORS

(2018) LPELR-44239(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Monday, the 23rd day of April, 2018

CA/IL/54/2010


Before Their Lordships

CHIDI NWAOMA UWA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

HAMMA AKAWU BARKA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

BOLOUKUROMO MOSES UGO Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

ECOBANK (NIG) PLC - Appellant(s)

AND

1. ONADIRAN HAKEEM KUNLE
2. OLOKO OBA OLAREWAJU
3. ISSA BELLO
4. SKYE BANK (NIG) PLC
5. FIRST BANK PLC - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Civil Procedure.

FACTS:
This appeal is against the judgment of the Kwara State High Court, delivered by M. O. Adewara J.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents as claimants in the High Court took out a writ of summons against Messrs. Bunmi Omotosho, Adegoke Aderian Jelili and Dare, Skye Bank, the appellant, and First Bank, claiming:
???"1. A declaration that the Claimants being agents of the 1st-3rd Defendants and who received money on their behalf are entitled to be refunded by the 1st - 3rd Defendants the sum of ???92,000,000.00 (Ninety Two Million Naira) only being money paid into the business account of the 1st - 3rd Defendants.
2. An order of this Honourable Court directing the 1st - 3rd Defendants to pay and refund the sum of ???92,000,000.00 (Ninety Two Million Naira) only paid into Defendants business account.
3. An order directing and mandating the Defendants jointly and/or severally to pay the Claimants the sum of ???92,000,000.00 (Ninety Two Million Naira) from the Defendants business account and/or their personal account.
4. An order mandating any bank or banks where the said ???92,000,000.00 (Ninety Two Million Naira) was deposited to be paid to the Claimants.
5. Cost of filing the suit."

???First to third respondents' case was that they were agents and business partners of Messrs. Bunmi Omotosho, Adegoke Aderian Jelili and Dare who carried on business under the name and style of New Freedom Diversified Investment Limited. The said Messrs. Bunmi Omotosho, Adegoke Aderian Jelili and Dare, they claimed, traded with people's money and engaged their services to receive money from such people and invest with them. According to 1st to 3rd respondents, they received a total sum of ???92,000,000.00 (Ninety Two Million Naira) from various persons, which sums they paid into the business accounts of Messrs. Bunmi Omotosho, Adegoke Aderian Jelili and Dare with appellant and 4th and 5th respondents, on the understanding that the funds would be paid back to the investors with interest. It is upon the inability of the said Messrs. Bunmi Omotosho, Adegoke Aderian Jelili and Dare to pay back the said monies as agreed that 1st to 3rd respondents approached the High Court of Kwara State for the relief earlier reproduced. They frontloaded along with their writ of summons a statement of claim, a sworn witness statement and an unfixed motion on notice for summary judgment.

Only First Bank of Nigeria Plc responded to the claim by filing a Memorandum of Appearance and counter affidavit to the motion for summary of judgment. First to third respondents' motion for summary judgment came up for hearing on 15/09/2008 and the trial judge, after listening to the submissions of the learned counsel to Claimants and that of First Bank, granted it and entered summary judgment for 1st to 3rd respondents against all the defendants including appellant. Aggrieved, appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The issues for determination in the appeal are:
1. Whether the trial Court was right in assuming jurisdiction when mandatory conditions precedent including proper service of originating and other processes, locus standi and cause of action were not satisfied.
2. Whether the trial Court was right in entering judgment in favour of 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents when the said respondents had failed to prove their entitlements to the reliefs as against the Appellants.
DECISION/HELD:
In conclusion, the appeal was allowed and the judgment of the High Court, as it relates to the appellant, was set aside.


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