The Presiding Judge, Owerri Judicial Division of National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Galadima has dismissed the suit filed by the retired staff of Imo State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources Engineer Aloysius Mbagwu against the State Attorney General and 2 others over claims for his unpaid salaries and emoluments between 2005 and November 2007, estacode allowances in respect of his official trip to Porto Novo for lacking in merit.
The court held that Engineer Aloysius has not proven to the satisfaction of the court that he duly applied for an extension of his annual leave in 2005 while he was overseas, that it means he overstayed his leave abroad which is contrary to the Public Service Rule and not entitled to the reliefs claimed.
From facts, the claimant’s- Engineer Aloysius had submitted that while in service, in 2005 he supposedly applied for and was granted 45 days annual leave to travel abroad that he purportedly took ill and was hospitalized there, that following his inability to resume duties, he allegedly applied for an extension of his leave on health grounds but was able to resume work in 2007 after a full recovery.
He sought for the payment of his hospital bills, his salaries during the period of his alleged hospitalization, and his estacode allowances in respect of his official trip to Porto Novo which he claimed others received in his absence.
In defense, the defendants submitted that Engr. Aloysius is not entitled to any of those claims as he neither informed them of his intention to spend his leave abroad nor did he apply for an extension of his initial vacation/leave in line with the state public service rules, that he was never sent on any official trip to abroad that all the claims are bogus and cannot be entitled to the accrued salary/emolument within the period he absconded from duty, urged the Court to dismiss the case in its entirety.
In opposition, the Claimant Counsel U. H. Ohiri Esq further alleged that the claimant wrote a letter for an extension of his leave in 2005 by reason of the fact that he was seriously ill, and the defendant stated that the same was not done in compliance with the State Service rule.
Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Ibrahim Galadima held that that fact that exhibits C4 and C5 were professed to have been made by a medical doctor from a foreign hospital actually requires that the contents of those documents to be believable by this court, they must at least have been notarized by a legal practitioner (a NP) in New Jersey, or possibly by a notary public here in Nigeria immediately it was sent.
“This and coupled with the fact that it is unknown how those letters were sent to Nigeria because they do not look like email copies; the fact whether the hospital itself was a public or a private one; the absence of any stamp authenticating that the signatory of those documents is/was a specialized medical doctor or cardiologist and above all, the fact that the claimant himself stated under oath that the maker of the document was his in-law, all throw doubts as to the genuineness of those documents.
“I hereby discountenance the same and declare that the claimant failed in putting up a proper application for an extension of his 2005 annual vacation while he was abroad, in compliance with rule 13118.”