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Friday, April 23, 2021

Court orders Pharmaceutical firm to immediately release staff original University certificate, awards damages

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The Presiding Judge, Kaduna Judicial division of the National Industrial Court, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sinmisola Adeniyi has dismissed the claims filed by Seagreen Pharmaceuticals firm against her former staff Mr. Adaji Gabriel for lacking merit and substance.

However, the Court held that the action of the Pharmaceuticals firm in retaining the original credential of Adaji Gabriel is not only unlawful but oppressive, ordered the immediate release of his Usman Dan Fodio University certificate, and awarded the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira [N250,000] damages against the firm for the hardship and suffering inflicted for withholding same.

From facts, the Claimant’s Seagreen Pharmaceuticals had alleged that the Defendant’s Adaji Gabriel had been warned on several occasions on poor performance on execution of duties but despite the warnings, the Defendant incurred indebtedness causing a loss to the firm.

The company further alleged that Adaji was summarily dismissed when he refused to make returns of the goods/products and failed to refund the money for the goods, claimed for the sum of Three Million, Ninety-Three Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty-Three Naira (N3,093,653.00) being the returns sales of product, materials and goods supplied to the Defendant as shown in Adaji ledger of account; N100,000.00 legal fees and N500,000.00 general damages.

In defence, the Defendant’s Adaji contended that after the receipt of his notice of resignation, he was called for account reconciliation and further that he issued a hand over note after the account was reconciled, that the firm is indebted to him for unpaid salaries, floating expenses and commissions, terminal benefits and demanded the release of his original credential which had been withheld by the firm, Counter – Claimed for the sum of N1,033,985.00 total terminal benefits and an order compelling the pharmaceutical company to return his originals credentials amongst others.

In opposition, the firm further averred that the Adaji failed to carry out his responsibilities to recover the debts from customers before he tendered his resignation letter; that the debts recovered had been deducted from the ledger account that Adaji’s had been paid his salaries and bonuses and thereby maintained that the Defendant is indebted to her urged the court to grant the reliefs sought.

Delivering the Judgment, the Presiding Judge, Justice Sinmisola Adeniyi held that no weight can be attached to Adaji’s ledger account in the absence of the maker with regard to the claim of indebtedness.

“Such a document as Exhibit C6- ledger Account, unsigned as it was, is incapable of establishing the fact that Defendant incurred losses and that he is indebted to the Claimant. And I so hold.

“As it stands, there is nothing before the Honourable Court worthy of consideration to warrant granting relief (1) sought by the Claimant.

The court also held that the Adaji Gabriel failed to lead any evidence in support of his entitlement to 7.5% pension contribution and terminal benefit entitlement claimed that an employee who claims must show how he came by the quantum of the sums claimed.

“I am of the view that having voluntarily exited the Company on 07/01/2015 over five (5) years, the act of retaining the original credentials of the Defendant by the Claimant is nothing more than modern-day slavery. It is unfair labour practice, which this Court now has jurisdiction under Section 254C (1) (f) of the 1999 Constitution.” Justice Adeniyi

For Full Judgment, visit the Judgement’s Portal

www.nicnadr.gov.ng

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