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MR. P. T. ADEDEJI v. DR. MOSES OBAJIMI

(2018) LPELR-44360(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 20th day of April, 2018

SC.154/2009


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

JOHN INYANG OKORO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMIRU SANUSI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

MR. P. T. ADEDEJI - Appellant(s)

AND

DR. MOSES OBAJIMI - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Law of Contract.
FACTS:
This is an appeal against the Judgment of the Court of Appeal, Ibadan, setting aside the decision of the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan.

The Respondent was the chairman of a business concern, International Insurance Group Nigeria Limited. He intended to sell the business and the Appellant was willing to buy. To this effect, the Appellant and Respondent executed a Memorandum of understanding (Exhibit 7) on 4th February, 1999. By that Memorandum of understanding, parties agreed that the purchase price of the Business shall be N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira only). It was also agreed that the Appellant shall pay the purchase price on or before 30th April, 1999. It was agreed by the parties that the Appellant shall bear some sundry expenses one of which included 15% statutory deposit with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The Appellant, went ahead to pay the sum of N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira only) as statutory deposit to the Central Bank of Nigeria. The purchase price of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira Only), remained unpaid by the Appellant by 30th April, 1999, the date agreed by parties in Exhibit 7 for fulfillment of same. The Appellant however, on 26th October, 1999 wrote to the Respondent and his privies demanding from the Respondent the refund of the sum of N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira only), which had earlier been paid to the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Respondent, miffed by the Appellant's demands, instituted an action before the High Court, wherein he sought the following reliefs:
"1. A declaration that by the terms of the memorandum of understanding dated 4/2/99 entered into by the Plaintiff and the Defendant at SW9/1406 Ring Road, Ibadan and executed by the Plaintiff and the Defendant at the Plaintiffs office in Ibadan, the Plaintiff is neither indebted to the Defendant in the sum of N500,000.00 or indeed any other sum at all, nor liable to refund the sum of N500,000.00 to the Defendant nor indeed any sum at all.
2. The sum of N1,000,000.00 (N1 million) being general damages for breach of the aforesaid memorandum of understanding by the Defendant on 30/4/99.
3. 21% interest on the sum claimed from 1/5/99 till judgment is given and thereafter at 21% till judgment sum is fully recovered.
4. Further and other reliefs.
5. Cost of this action."

The Defendant, on receipt of the writ and endorsed claim, filed a Counter-Claim where he prayed the trial Court for the sum of N500,000.00 paid by him to the Central Bank of Nigeria and Interest at the rate of 21% on the said sum of N500,000.00.

???Upon consideration of the cases of the parties, the Trial Court found that the Appellant was in breach of a fundamental term of the Memorandum of Understanding (Exhibit 7). The Trial Court, in the interest of justice and on the principle of equity also ordered the refund of the sum of N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira Only) paid by the Appellant to the Central Bank of Nigeria. Dissatisfied, respondent appealed to the Court of Appeal. Appellant cross appealed against the part of the judgment touching on non-award of interest on the sum of N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira only). The Court of Appeal found for the Respondent, setting aside the judgment of the trial Court and dismissing the Counter-Claim of the Appellant. Not pleased, appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The issue for determination in the appeal is:
"Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal were right to hold that the Appellant who is in breach of contract (Exhibit 7) ought not to be reimbursed for the payment of N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira only) in view of his breach."

DECISION/HELD:
In conclusion, the appeal was dismissed for lacking in merit.


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