Industrial Court orders Dana Airlines to pay retired Staff Moses Shokunbi N6 Million Entitlements within 7 days

Lagos—His Lordship, Hon. Justice Isaac Essien of the National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos has ordered Dana Airline to pay her retired staff Mr Moses Shokunbi sum of 6,120,553 [Six Million, One hundred and twenty thousand, five hundred and fifty-three Naira only for gratuity, unremitted Retirement Savings, unpaid medical and leave allowance within 7 days.

The claimant- Shokunbi via motion on notice sought an order of the court entering judgment in his favour on the grounds of the defendant admission via a letter of response dated 13/9/2018 to his letter of notice of retirement and demand written by his solicitor.

Likewise, an order of the court that the defendant pays him monthly salary from April 2018 until his terminal benefit and entitlement are finally paid.

In opposition, the defendant-Dana Airline denied made any of the admissions relied upon by the claimant in bringing this application for summary judgment, maintained that claimant having not spent ten years in the employment of the defendant, his applicable gratuity has been computed as N 4,070,250.00 (Four Million, Seventy Thousand, Two Hundred and Fifty Naira ONLY also that the total Retirement Savings of the Claimant as domiciled Pension administrator is N1,829,589.00 and the Claimant is well aware of steps to remit same.

Counsel to the Dana Airlines relied on the provision of the Evidence argued that the letter of reply dated 13/9/2018 has no evidential value and the content cannot constitute an admission that the letter which is marked ‘without prejudice’ cannot be given as evidence against a party.

In his ruling, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Essien held that Section 196 does not apply to the letter of response and further expressed thus;

“It is a misunderstanding of the provisions of section 196 of the Evidence Act that makes a party to proceedings to think that once a letter is marked with the phrase ‘without prejudice’ it cannot be tendered in prove of the content thereof in civil proceedings.

“The said letter was written on the 13/9/2018, this suit was filed on the 2/11/2018. There was no suit pending as at that time for which the provision of S. 169 of the Evidence Act can be invoked.”

In all, the court ordered defendant to pay claimant sum of N4,070,250.00 (Four million seventy thousand two hundred and fifty naira only) being the amount admitted by the defendant as the claimant gratuity, N1,829,589.00 (One million eight hundred and twenty-nine thousand five hundred and eighty-nine naira only) unremitted Retirement Savings and N169,624.00 unpaid medical allowance for the period 2012 – 2014 within 7 days.

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