By Abdulwahab Abdulah
The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has dismissed an appeal filed by two business men, Chidume Okoro and Ada Chidume Okoro asking the appellate court to set aside the judgement of aÂ Lagos High Court ordering them to payÂ N25. 831 million being an amount of money received by them for a business transaction.
Upholding the judgement of the trial court, the appellate court held that Chidume and Ada Okoro, the appellants, should also pay a 30 per-cent interest rate per-annum on the outstanding sum until the payment is finally liquidated.
The respondent in the case at the Appeal Court, Ikechi Okoro who was the claimant at the trial court had secured judgement against the appellants where the trial court enter a final judgement in his favour on the ground that the appellants have no defence to the claim for the amount claimed in the writ filed by the claimant.
In a unanimous judgment by the court of Appeal, Lagos, the three Justices M.B.Dongban-Mensem, Bode Rhodes-Vivour and P.A. Galinje confirmed the judgement of the Lagos High court by Justice A.A. Oyebanji and subsequently imposed a cost of N30, 000 against the Appellants.
The court also held that the circular from the Central Bank tendered by the Appellants on the 30 % rate imposed by the trial court cannot be binding on the court since â€œNo details of the Central Bank â€œOrderâ€ on the said sealing of 21 % rate is given.
The Central Bank of Nigeria is not one of the courts established under Chapter vii of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
â€œIts decisions do not therefore constitute a binding precedent on this court. Even if it did, no particulars of the said authority is provided. Indeed, it would be doing injustice to adjudicative discretion to accord judicial notice to circulars dished out from the Central Bank of Nigeria. That would amount to mortgaging our fragile judicial independence.â€ The court held.
In the lead judgment read by Justice Dongban-Mensem, the Appellate court held â€œThis appeal fails. The decision of the trial Court is hereby affirmed. A cost of N30,000 is awarded to the Respondent and against the Appellants. It is hereby so ordered.â€
It said the trail judge needed â€œnot consult an oracle to decipher the desperate attempts to becloud her mind with allegations of fraud and misrepresentation after grown up adults and business wizards had signed and executed documents assuming responsibility to others.â€