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MULTI-TRADE ECOLOGY LIMITED v. POWERNOTH-AICL EQUIPMENTS COMPANY LIMITED

(2018) LPELR-45783(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Tuesday, the 30th day of October, 2018

CA/L/1157/2017


Before Their Lordships

TOM SHAIBU YAKUBU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

UGOCHUKWU ANTHONY OGAKWU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

GABRIEL OMONIYI KOLAWOLE Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

MULTI-TRADE ECOLOGY LTD - Appellant(s)

AND

POWERNOTH-AICL EQUIPMENTS CO. 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 Lagos State delivered by Sonaike, J. on 23rd June 2017. 

The Respondent, as Claimant before the High Court claimed the following reliefs by its Further Amended Statement of Claim:
"WHEREOF the Claimant claims against the Defendant as follows:
(a) A declaration that the Defendant has breached the terms of the equipment lease agreement Dated 9th of September 2011 between 2011 between itself and the Claimant herein.
(b) A declaration that the Defendant is liable to the Claimant in damages for breaching the terms of the equipment lease agreement dated 9th day of September, 2011 and to pay all its debts to the Claimant.
(c) The sum of N105, 000, 000. 00 (One Hundred and Five Million Naira) begin [sic] unpaid accumulated instalment [sic] payment of N15, 000, 000. 00 (Fifteen Million Naira) for the months of September 2011 to March 2012 that is 7 (seven) months which the Defendant ought to have been paying monthly after the Claimant had delivered the equipment.
(d) 30% of the sum of N15, 000,000.00 (Fifteen Million Naira) monthly from September 2011 to March 2012 totaling [sic] N31.5Million. Being additional payment as premium on the monthly rental sum to be made to the Claimant by the Defendant. 
(e) N2,250, 00.00 being monthly rental sum/amount for the equipment (to wit compacting trucks) for six month (30% of N7.5m) from April 2012 to September, 2012 totaling [sic] N13,500,000 (Thirteen Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira) only owned [sic] the Claimant by the Defendant.
(f) The sum of N18, 504, 000 (Eighteen Million Five Hundred Thousand [sic] Naira) being the sum expended by the Claimant for the purchase of spare parts for the repair of the 10 equipment from the Defendant as well as cost incurred in respect of post recovery repairs.
(g) 14.76% interest on the sum due to the Claimant by the defendant from date of due payment till same is duly liquidated in accordance with the prevailing Central Bank of Nigeria Treasury rate.
(h) The sum of N2, 500,000.00 (Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira) being the cost incurred by the claimant for delivering the 10 equipment to the Defendant.
(i) The sum of N10, 000, 000.00 (Ten Million Naira) being the cost charged by the claimant's Counsel to institute this suit for recovery. 
(j) 10% (Ten Percent) post judgment sum interest from date of judgment till same is fully liquidated."

The parties filed and exchanged pleadings, issues were joined and the matter was subjected to a plenary trial at which testimonial and documentary evidence was adduced. The High Court in its judgment found and held that the Respondent had proven its claim to the satisfaction of the Court and entered judgment for the Respondent The Appellant being dissatisfied with the judgment appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on the issues raised by the parties and couched as follows:

APPELLANT'S ISSUES
1. Whether the Learned Trial Judge correctly considered the principles of Law and the Rules of pleadings when it relied on alleged parole contract not pleaded and or claimed by the Respondent and held that the Appellant breached the terms of the parole/written agreement dated 9th September 2011 between the Respondent and the Appellant?
2. Whether the Lower Court correctly evaluated the Facts, Pleadings and Evidence led before it when it held that 'the Appellant is ordered to pay the following to the Respondent as a consequence of the breach:
[a] For the period whilst the 10 trucks were with the Appellant, the Appellant is to pay the installmentally agreed fee from the month of September 2011 to December, 2011 when the Respondent recovered its 10 trucks from the Appellant i.e the Appellant is  to pay the agreed installmental payment of NGN15, 000.000.00 [Fifteen Million Naira] monthly from September 2011 to December 2011.
[b] 30% of thee sum of NGN15, 000.000.00 [Fifteen Million Naira] monthly from September 2011 to December 2011 being the agreed additional payment as premium on the monthly rental sum?
3. Whether the Learned Trial Judge considered the principles of law guiding the award of special damages when it held that the Appellant is liable for the cost of repairs of the compacting trucks?
4. Whether the Evidence adduced by the Respondent in the Suit justifies the grant of the declaratory reliefs and the monetary awards by the Lower Court thereof?"

RESPONDENT'S ISSUES
1. Whether in the circumstances of the case, the pleadings and evidence before the Court the Learned Trial Judge was right to have held that a parole agreement existed between the parties.
2. Whether the reliefs granted by the Court were proper and within the confines of the discretion of the Learned Trial Judge in the circumstances of the case.

DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Court found merit in the appeal and accordingly allowed same. The decision of the High Court of Lagos State in SUIT NO. LD/1019/2012: POWERNOTH - AICL EQUIPMENTS CO. LTD vs. MULTI-TRADE ECOLOGY LTD delivered on 23rd June, 2017 was thereby set aside. In its stead, an order was made dismissing the said action in its entirety.


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