Law News
Partner appeals judgement in suit against firms

Mr. Oghoro Bishop Ese, a former management partner with an oil services company, Taleveras Group of Companies Limited (TGCL),has appealed the March 24, 2015 judgment delivered by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja in a suit by the company and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Igho Sanomi. In his notice of appeal before the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, the appellant alleged that the trial court denied him fair hearing, while querying  the procedure adopted by it.


Beside, he faulted its decisions and asked the appellate court to set aside the lower court’s proceedings and judgment, as he also applied to the trial court for the stay of execution of judgment. It could be recalled that Sanomi and his company had, in late 2014 sued Oghoro after he wrote Sanomi on August 5 last year, demanding the payment of his final entitlement. Oghoro, who was Sanomi’s schoolmate and founding member of the company, resigned in 2005 after a disagreement with Sanomi.

The defendant, who now resides in the United Kingdom, had written Sanomi through Televeras’ UK subsidiary – Taleveras Services UK – demanding, among others, £30million (being 15 per cent of £200m allegedly realized as profit between 2000 and 2003 while their business relationship lasted. In his request, he demanded that based on an oral agreement between him and Sanomi, that he (Oghoro) was entitled to 15 per cent of the company’s annual profit, between 2000 and 2005 while their work relationship lasted.

Oghoro also took a pre-action protocol against Sanomi in the UK, which saw Oghoro’s lawyer and lawyers representing Sanomi and his companies – Taleveras Services UK and Taleveras Group of Companies – exchanged letters in 2014 with a view to establishing what was actually owed Oghoro. However as the parties were preparing for the pre-action protocol stage in the UK, Sanomi and TGCL sued Oghoro before the High Court of the FCT, Abuja, denying any contractual relationship with the defendant.

They also complained about the letter, which the plaintiffs said had cast them in bad light before Taleveras UK, who they claimed was a business partner and not TGCL’s subsidiary as claimed by the defendant (Oghoro). The plaintiffs prayed the court to declare among others that the defendant’s claims in the letter dated August 5, 2014 were “frivolous, incredible and made in bad faith.”

The plaintiffs further sought a declaration that the letter, which portrayed them (the plaintiffs) as debtors, is defamatory of their persons, while asking the court to award N500m against the defendant for libel in relation to the August 5, 2014 letter and another N20m in their favour, as cost of the suit. Justice Musa in his judgment in the suit marked: FCT/HC/CV/186/2014 dismissed the defendant’s counter-claim on the grounds that it was statute barred and that it disclosed no cause of action, while refusing the plaintiffs’ prayers for N520m in relation to their libel claim and the cost of prosecuting the suit.

In his appeal, Oghoro raised five grounds of appeal in the notice of appeal, to include that the trial judge erred in law when he entered judgment for the plaintiffs in relation to relief sought in their statement of claim, without calling evidence in the substantive suit commenced by writ of summons.

He noted that no evidence was adduced by the plaintiffs to prove their case which was founded on defamation before the trial court proceeded to judgment and that the court gave judgment without calling oral evidence, but relied on facts contained in an interlocutory application to determine a substantive suit in which pleadings have been joined and averments in the substantive suit controverted by the defendant in his statement of defence/counter-claim and statement on oath.

He has also applied to the trial court for orders staying execution of the judgement pending the determination of the appeal. Ruling had been adjourned to October 10, 2015 for ruling.


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