- Abuja—His Lordship, Justice Sanusi Kadoof the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has given Fidelity bank plc to file clean copies of the amended statement of defense within 7 days for a matter brought by Mr. Austin Okoli.
The claimant Mr. Austin Okoli. vide general form of complaint seeking against the defendant among others for A declaration that the claimant is still a staff of the defendant hence there has never been any notice of termination of the claimant’s contract of the employment till date. Likewise, the sum of 10,000,000.00 (ten million naira) only a general damages against the defendant for withholding/refusing to pay the claimant his employment benefits which includes salaries, allowances and other benefits among others.
Upon being served, the defendant vide a motion on notice filed on the 25th day of January 2019 sought for an order of the Honourable court granting leave to the defendants/Applicants to amend their statement of defense as per the proposed Amendment herein underlined in black in the proposed Amended defendant’s statement of defense in to bring some in line with the evidence already adduced by the claimant in his evidence in chief in this issue in this suit.
In reaction, learned IfeabuchiOnwe, Esq; counsel for the claimant contended that a careful look at the affidavit in support of the Applicants motion would glaringly reveal that the said affidavit did not in any way state that the said amendment is necessary in order to cure any omissions or typographic error, and that all they said therein is that the amendment is to incorporate the answers provided by the Claimant during Cross-Examination, which will in no small measure prejudice the claimant.
An also that the defendant/Applicant intention is to continue to delay the cause of justice, and therefore urged the court to so hold that there is no legal basis upon which the application could be sustained.
Reply on points of law, the defendants submitted that the Application is not brought malafide or in bad faith but based on the principle of law and procedure as same is not brought to delay the case.
Delivering the ruling, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Sanusi Kado held inter alia that courts have a very wide discretion in granting or refusing leave to amend.
“It is clear from careful perusal of the proposed pleading and the record of proceedings of this court that the amendment is meant to have the pleading synchronize with the evidence already before the court. Therefore, the amendment is not meant to overreach the claimant, but to help in bring out the real issues in controversy between the parties.”
In all, the court ordered defendant to file clean copies of the amendment within 7 days.