⦿ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Chemiron International Limited v. Stabilini Visinoni Limited (2018) – SC
by PipAr Chima
⦿ NOTABLE DICTA
* GROUNDS OF APPEAL DISMISSED WHERE NO ISSUE DRAWN
Indeed, there is no disputing the submission of the respondent that grounds 4 and 5 of the grounds of appeal are abandoned, no issues really having been drawn from those grounds. – Peter-Odili JSC. Chemiron v. Stabilini (2018)
* TESTIY: ANY OFFICIAL CAN TESTIFY FOR A COMPANY
It is not necessary that it is only that person who carried out the function on behalf of the company that must testify. Not at all, as any official of the company well equipped with the transaction and or related documents would suffice to testify. – Peter-Odili JSC. Chemiron v. Stabilini (2018)
* INTERFERENCE: WHERE APPELLATE COURT CAN INTERFERE WITH TRIAL COURT’S FINDING
As a matter of practice, this court rarely interferes with or disturbs the concurrent finding of two lower court, except in special or exceptional circumstances. Some of these exceptional or special circumstance that would warrant such interference by an appeal court are if it is shown that there was a miscarriage of justice, misconception of fact or serious violation of some principle of law whether substantive or procedural or that such findings were erroneous or perverse. – Sanusi JSC. Chemiron v. Stabilini (2018)
* FACT UNDISPUTED NEED NO FURTHER PROOF
It is trite that facts not disputed are taken as established and therefore need no further proof. The court can legitimately act on such undisputed fact. – Eko JSC. Chemiron v. Stabilini (2018)
* PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY OF JUDICIAL ACTS
This practice is informed by the presumption, reinforced by section 168(1) of the Evidence Act, 2011 (formerly section 150(1) of the Evidence Act, 1990), that provides that when a judicial act is shown to have been done in a manner substantially regular, it is presumed that all formal requisites for its validity were complied with. There is, in this further appeal, no viable complaint against the formal requisites for the validity of the concurrent judgments, the subject of this further appeal. – Eko JSC. Chemiron v. Stabilini (2018)
* JUDGEMENTS OF COURT MUST BE OBEYED
Unfortunately, sentiments command no place in judicial adjudication. Orders and judgments of lower courts are meant to be obeyed, and must be obeyed. – Eko JSC. Chemiron v. Stabilini (2018)
CHEMIRON INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
STABILINI VISINONI LIMITED
⦿ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
* FOR THE APPELLANT
– Isaac M. Boro Esq.
* FOR THE RESPONDENT
– O. Akoni SAN.
⦿ CASE HISTORY
A case on notice to quit, and mesne profit.
⦿ ISSUE(S) & RESOLUTION
1. WHETHER THE APPELLANT WAS served a valid statutory notice to quit?
RULING: IN RESPONDENT’S FAVOUR.
i. From the evidence, exhibit P4A was received by one Abraham Damola, a staff of the appellant on 31 March 2002 while the exhibit P4B was also received by one Okoro in the employment of the appellant on 4 January 2005. Those facts were rendered by the sole witness of the respondent in court and not contradicted under cross-examination. Also of note is that the appellant did not give evidence at the trial on the service or non-service of the statutory notices and not lead evidence denying that the persons who acknowledge the notices were not employed by appellant. Of note also is that the tenancy of the appellant was for a certain term of 3 (three) years and by virtue of section 7 of the Recovery of Premises Law Cap. 118, Laws of Lagos State 1973, there was no necessity to serve a notice to quit before initiating a recovery of premises action when the tenancy as in the case at hand is for a term that is certain.
ii. From what is before the court, there is nothing on which departure from the concurrent findings of fact of the two courts below could be hung. In keeping with the policy of this court which has become trite, the Supreme Court will not disturb concurrent findings of the two lower court unless it is shown that such findings were perverse or that there was a substantial error either in the substantive or procedural law, which if not corrected will lead to a miscarriage of justice.
⦿ ENDING NOTE BY LEAD JUSTICE – Per
⦿ REFERENCED (STATUTE)
Section 7 of the Recovery of Premises Law Cap. 118, Laws of Lagos State 1973 (“the RPL”) provides that:- “When and as soon as the term or interest of the tenant of any premises determines or has been duly determined by a written notice to quit as in form B, A C, or D, in schedule 1 this law such tenant or if such tenant does not actually occupy the premises or only a part thereof is actually occupied, neglects or refuses to quit and deliver up possession of the premises or any part thereof, the landlord of the said premises or his agent may cause the person on neglecting or refusing to quit and deliver up possession to be served with a written notice as in Form signed by the landlord or his agent of the landlord’s intention to proceed to recover possession on a date not less than seven days from the date of service of the notice.”
Section 131, 133, 167(c) of the Evidence Act 2011.
⦿ REFERENCED (CASE)
* ANY OFFICIAL CAN GIVE TESTIMONY FOR A COMPANY
Comet Shipp. Agencies Ltd v. Babbit Ltd (2001) FWLR (Pt. 40) 1630, (2001) 7 NWLR (Pt. 712) 442, 452 paragraph B, per Galadima JCA (as he then was ) held that: “Companies have no flesh and blood. Their existence is a mere legal abstraction. They must therefore, of necessity, act through their directors, managers and officials. Any official of a company well placed to have personal knowledge of any particular transaction in which a company is engaged can give evidence of such transaction.”
Saleh v. B.O.N. Ltd (2006) NWLR (Pt. 976) 316 at 326-327 thus: “A company is a juristic person and can only act through its agents or servants. Consequently, any agent or servant can give evidence to establish any transaction entered into by a juristic personality. Even where the official giving the evidence is not the one who actually took part in the transaction on behalf of the company. Such evidence is nonetheless relevant and admissible and will not be discountenanced or rejected as hearsay evidence…”
* PROOF OF DELIVERY OF DOCUMENT
Agbaje v. Fashola (2008) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1082) 90 at 142. “Where it is alleged that a document was delivered to a person who denies receiving such document, proof of delivery to such person can be established by: (a) dispatch book indicating receipt; or (b) evidence of dispatch by registered post; or (c) evidence of witness, credible enough that the person was served with the document.”
* MESNE PROFIT: WHAT IT IS?
Agbamu v. Ofili (2004) 5 NWLR (Pt. 867) 540 at 570 thus: “Mesne profits are therefore the profit accruing from the date the defendant ceases to hold the premises as a tenant to the date he gives up possession.”
* COURT PROPERLY CONSTITUTED
Madukolu v. Nkemdilim (1962) 1 All NLR 587 per Bairamian FJ as follows:- “Put briefly, a court is competent when: It is properly constituted as regards numbers and qualifications of the members of the bench, and no member is disqualified for one reason or another; (2) The subject matter of the case is within its jurisdiction and there is no feature in the case which prevents the court from exercising its jurisdiction; and the case comes before the court initiated by the due process of law and upon fulfillment of any condition precedent to the exercise of jurisdiction.”
⦿ REFERENCED (OTHERS)
⦿ SIMILAR JUDGEMENTS