The Supreme Court Reverses a Previous Ruling in the GTBank-Innoson Case and Allows the Bank’s Appeal to Proceed.

The Supreme Court Reverses a Previous Ruling in the GTBank-Innoson Case and Allows the Bank’s Appeal to Proceed.

by Arikawe Femi
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The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Guaranty Trust Bank, overturning a lower court ruling that had denied GTB’s appeal against a N2.4 billion verdict in favor of Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited issued by the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, Oyo State. 
“Yes, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of GTbank on Friday,” a top GTB official revealed to on Sunday.
A five-member panel led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola unanimously found that the Supreme Court erred when it dismissed GTB’s appeal marked SC/694/2014 on February 27, 2019. 
Justice Tijani Abubakar wrote the lead judgment, which was read on Friday by Justice Abdu Aboki.

The court held that it was misled by its registry, which failed to bring to the panel’s attention that it sat on the case on February 27, 2019, and that GTB had already filed its appellant’s brief of argument, according to the lead judgment, written by Justice Tijani Abubakar but read on Friday by Justice Abdu Aboki.

The decision came in response to GTB’s request for the appeal to be re-listed since it had been wrongfully dismissed.
The Supreme Court stated that if the panel hearing the case on February 27, 2019, had been informed of the existence of the appellant’s brief of argument, the finding dismissing GTB’s appeal on the basis of lack of diligent prosecution would not have been made. 
In the lead judgment, Justice Abubakar cited Order 8 Rules 16 of the Supreme Court’s Rules to hold that the apex court, like any other court, has the power to set aside its decision in certain circumstances. 
He went on to say that there are reasons to do so, such as if one of the parties obtained a judgment through fraud, default, or deception; if the decision is void; or if it is clear that the court was misled into making a decision. 
The circumstances of the GTB case, according to Justice Tijani, fell into the category of the few occasions in which the Supreme Court can revise or alter its own order on the grounds that it did not provide what it wanted to record. 
“I am convinced that there was a genuine and current brief of argument filed by the applicant at the time the appellant’s appeal was accidentally dismissed by this court.” 
“It would be wrong to punish an innocent, vigilant, proactive, and diligent plaintiff for the registry’s sin.” 
It is clear from the evidence before us that the Registry of this court made mistakes by failing to notify the panel of Justices sitting in chambers on the 27th of February 2019 that the appellant had indeed filed its brief of argument. 
“This is a case that this court should consider positively.” 
“Having reviewed all of the papers in this application, I am convinced that the appellant/brief applicant’s of argument was filed prior to this court’s order dismissing the applicant’s appeal on February 27, 2019.”
“As a result, the order dismissing the appeal was made in error. If all materials were disclosed, it should not have been made. As a result, the application is meritorious and so succeeds “According to Justice Abubakar. 
He then overturned the court’s finding dismissing GTB’s appeal on February 27, 2019, and ordered that the appeal marked 694/2014 “be relisted to represent an integral part of the court’s business until its hearing and conclusion on the merits.” 
Justices Ariwoola, John Okoro, Helen Ogunwumiju, and Aboki were all in agreement with the lead judgment.

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