A Lagos High Court has ordered a pharmaceutical company, Nichben, to pay N60 million to a Lagos-based clearing agent, Mr. Raphael Okonkwo, being money for work done for the company since 2003.
Justice Ebenezer Adebajo, who handed down the judgement recently also ordered that Nichben should pay six per cent interest on the judgment sum from January 1, 2014 until the entire sum was liquidated and awarded the sum of N120,000 against the pharmaceutical company as cost.
The legal battle had commenced since 2003 when two bills of lading were said to have been given to Raphael Okonkwo in respect of 1 x 40ft container containing 655 cartons of Top Gel at Cotonu Port, in neighbouring Benin Republic.
In his judgement, Justice Adebajo said: “One thing that is clear is the preponderance of lack of documents. When it is considered that the overall value of transactions go into several hundreds of millions of naira, the case turns on the credibility of witnesses and each party’s case as presented.
“Of the few useful documentary evidence before the court is Exhibit D18. It is a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgement of the Chief Magistrate in Charge No. A/55/2004. Commissioner of Police Vs Raphael Okonkwo. The findings of that court were never challenged on appeal nor was it impeached in this court.
“I have read through the judgement in that criminal charge which is based on a higher degree of proof than in civil case. I accept the findings of the Magistrates’ Court on the facts of the transactions as between the parties in the charge. I am prepared to place reliance on the evidence taken in the lower court. The proceedings of the lower court is not binding on me.”
Consequently, Justice Adebajo entered judgement in favour of Okonkwo in the sum of N60 million.