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FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA PLC v. MR. NKEMKA N. AGBAKWURU

(2018) LPELR-43639(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Friday, the 9th day of February, 2018

CA/L/134/15


Before Their Lordships

MOHAMMED LAWAL GARBA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

JOSEPH SHAGBAOR IKYEGH Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

YARGATA BYENCHIT NIMPAR Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA PLC - Appellant(s)

AND

MR. NKEMKA N. AGBAKWURU - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Labour Law.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the National Industrial Court.

As the Head of the Retail Banking Unit at the Douglas, Owerri Branch of the Appellant, the Respondent was assigned to verify and confirm all the documents submitted by a customer; Maku II International (Maku hereafter) for a loan facility of N18,000.000.00 (Eighteen Million Naira) to finance an oil contract. Based on the confirmation by the Respondent, the Appellant approved and granted the credit facility to Maku, but later discovered that the Letter of Domiciliation and LPO submitted by Maku for the facility were fake. The Respondent was queried and after appearing before the Disciplinary Committee of the Appellant he was dismissed summarily from the service of the Appellant by a letter dated 25th of August, 2010.

Aggrieved by the action taken against him by the Appellant, the Respondent instituted suit No. LD/313/2011 before the National Industrial Court (N.I.C.) and in the Amended Statement of Facts dated 29th of October, 2013, claimed several reliefs against the Appellant among which was a declaration that the summary dismissal of the Respondent by the Appellant from the Appellant employment vide the letter dated 25th of August, 2010 is unlawful, wrongful, null and void and therefore of no effect and an order directing the Appellant to convert the said unlawful dismissal to termination and consequently pay to the Respondent all terminal benefits accruable and due and payable to the Respondent in the sum of N22,602,626.90 (Twenty-Two million, Six hundred and Two thousand. Six hundred and Twenty-Six Naira, Ninety Kobo Only) being the amount payable to a Deputy Manager as terminal benefits or such amount as is calculated by the Defendant as the Claimant cannot state the terminal benefits with mathematical precision as same varies with individual cases.

???The Appellant denied the claims, joined issues with the Respondent and after the settlement of pleadings, the matter proceeded to trial at the end of which, in a judgment delivered on the 2nd of December, 2014 the National Industrial Court substantially granted the claims by the Respondent.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, the Appellant brought this appeal to the Court of Appeal.



ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal based on the following issues:
"(i) Whether the trial Judge's reliance on extraneous facts which were not pleaded nor proved in evidence amounts to a breach of the Appellant's right to fair hearing.
(i) Whether having regard to the totality of evidence before the lower Court, the learned trial Judge was right in reaching the conclusion that the offence of gross negligence against the Respondent does not warrant Summary Dismissal.
(ii) Whether the Respondent is entitled to Terminal Benefits having been summarily dismissed."

The respondent raised the issue of or questioned the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the appeal of the Appellant.


DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the Court of Appeal after considering the issue of Jurisdiction raised by the Respondent held that the Notice of Appeal filed on the 10th of December, 2014 was incompetent and it was accordingly struck out.



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