Lagos – His Lordship, Hon. Justice J. D. Peters of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, sitting in Lagos, on Thursday 29th November 2018 in a judgment dismissed suit filed against ex-employee Ebenezer Oduwole (defendant) by the DN Meyer Plc (claimant) for lack of cogent and credible evidence, Ordered payment of N100,000.00 to the defendant as cost of proceedings.
The Claimant commenced this action by originating processes and sought against defendant among others; An order directing the Defendant to pay the Claimant the sum of =N=4,012,315.98 (Four Million Twelve Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifteen Naira Ninety-Eight Kobo) being the total outstanding sum remaining unpaid on the Toyota Corolla saloon car with, at all material times, Lagos registration number LQ 211 AAA or in the alternative, An order directing the Defendant to return to the Claimant forthwith the Toyota Corolla car with all material times Lagos registration number LQ 211 AAA previously allocated to the Defendant.
The case of the Claimant is that the Defendant was its employee from March 2005 to 2nd August 2010, defendant resignation was accepted on the same day; that in September 2007, the company allocated a Toyota Saloon Car with Registration number LQ 211 AAA as his official vehicle under the Company Car Ownership Scheme Policy, which the Defendant subscribed to pursuant to a Car Lien Agreement; that the Defendant resigned his employment with the Claimant without having completed payment for the car pursuant to the car lease agreement.
That it had made formal demands for the car to be returned all to no avail; that the Defendant has neither returned the car nor paid the outstanding money to the Claimant.
The simple case put forward by the Defendant is that he worked for the Claimant; that he was forced to resign from his employment; that the Car in dispute did not belong to the Claimant but rather he purchased same by a loan obtained from First Bank of Nigeria Plc and that the only role played by the Claimant was in making monthly deductions from his salaries and remitting same to the First Bank of Nigeria Plc; that he has finished paying the loan obtained from the First Bank of Nigeria Plc and that the ownership of the car resides in him.
Under cross-examination, the Defendant stated that he never applied for any car loan; that application to join car ownership scheme were unknown to him.
In the final written address, learned Counsel to the claimant that in the circumstances of this case the Claimant has proved its case as required. Counsel thus prayed the Court to enter Judgment in favour of the Claimant.
After careful evaluation of all the processes filed, oral testimonies of the witnesses and submission of the learned Counsel for the parties, The Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice J. D. Peters expressed thus;
“I note firstly that none of the exhibits tendered is a loan agreement or any such agreement between the parties relating to loan in the sum claimed by the Claimant or any sum at all. It may not be out of place to state that an alleged loan agreement involving the type of sum of money being claimed by the Claimant will invariably be in writing.
“It is for a party seeking judicial intervention to adduce sufficiently cogent and credible evidence in support of his case. This has not been done in the instant case. The Claimant would seem to have left it to the Court to do its case for it. No doubt it is not the duty of the Court to make case for a party but rather to determine a case brought up on the basis on the available evidence.
“This Court is left in the dark as to how much was the loan in question as well as the terms and conditions of the loan agreement. The bottom line of my finding in this case is that the lone issue set down for determination must invariably be resolved against the Claimant and in favor of the Defendant. I so do.
“Finally, for the avoidance of doubt and for all the reasons as contained in this Judgment, I dismiss the case of the Claimant in its entirety. Claimant is to bear the cost of these proceedings assessed at =N=100,000.00 payable to the Defendant.”