IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF JUDICATURE
IN THE HIGH COURT (COMMERCIAL DIVISION),
KUMASI- A.D 2019
CHARLES OPPONG ANOKYE - (Plaintiff)
ADDAE OWUSU - (Defendant)
DATE: 22ND OCTOBER, 2018
SUIT NO: OCC 19/2018
JUDGES: DR. RICHMOND OSEI-HWERE JUSTICE OF THE HIGH COURT
LAWYERS: OBENG MANU JNR. FOR THE PLAINTIFF
By a writ of summons, plaintiff claim against the defendant the following reliefs:
A. An order for the refund of SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED- AND FIFTY-POUNDS STERLING (£ 6,250.00)being the amount the Plaintiff advanced and transferred to the manufacturers in China to effect payment of the printing machine at the behest of the Defendant which was meant to be employed in commercial printing business for the joint benefit of Plaintiff and Defendant.
B. An order for recovery of Twenty-Seven Thousand Five Hundred Ghana Cedis (GH¢27,500) being the Plaintiff’s share of accumulated profit for 22 months by way of special damages.
C. Interest on the said amount in relief”a” above to be calculated by the Bank of Ghana at prevailing interest rate in the United Kingdom (London) until date of final payment.
D. General damages for breach of contract signed between Plaintiff and Defendant.
E. Cost including solicitors fees.
On 7th May, 2018 the court entered final judgment in favour of the Plaintiff in respect of reliefs (a) and above. The court also entered interlocutory judgment in respect of reliefs (d) and (e). The suit was, however, adjourned for assessment of damages. The law is that general damages lie for every infringement of an absolute right. The Supreme Court held in the case of Delmas Agency Ghana Ltd v Food Distributors International Ltd [2007/2008] SCGLR 748, 760 thus:
‘‘General damages is such as the law will presume to be the probable or natural consequences of the defendant’s act. It arises by inference of law and therefore need not be proved by evidence. The law implies general damages in every infringement of an absolute right. The catch is that only general damages are awarded.
Where a plaintiff has suffered a properly quantifiable loss, he must plead specifically his loss and prove it strictly. If he does not he is not entitled to anything unless general damages are also appropriate.’’
The Plaintiff’s attorney led evidence to establish specific damages. He tendered in evidence the partnership agreement which was marked Exhibit C. From Exhibit C, the plaintiff had 25% stake in the business. He contributed £ 6,250.00 towards the purchase of the printing machine and he was supposed to receive 25%out of the proceeds of the machine on a monthly basis. She also stated that for over 3 years the defendant worked with the machine but has failed to make the monthly payment to the plaintiff. According to the plaintiff’s attorney, the plaintiff used the student’s loan procured in Britain to finance the business and that the loan attracts interest. She stated further that to mitigate his losses, the plaintiff has started working and is paying the loan by installment. She tendered exhibits D, D1 to D4 to show that the plaintiff is repaying the loan facility. She also tendered exhibits B and B1 as evidence of the loan facility. The courts generally respect the agreements voluntarily entered into by men of full age and understanding and is always willing to enforce these agreements provided they are compatible with public policy. In Oppong vs. Anarfi (2011) SCGLR 556 the Supreme Court recognized this basic principle when it held:
“The law was settled that a party of full age and understanding would normally be bound by his signature whether he read and understood it or not, particularly in the absence of the requisite evidence that the other party had misled him. Therefore where parties had embodied the terms of their contract in a written document, extrinsic evidence or oral evidence would be inadmissible to add to, vary, subtract from or contradict the terms of the written instrument. Thus mere negligence in not reading a document before signing could not amount to the defence of non-est factum.’’
From exhibit C, it is clear that the plaintiff was entitled to 25% of monthly profit. Evidence was however not led to establish the actual amount. The court will, however, exercise its discretion and accept the GH¢27,500quoted in the reliefs as the Plaintiff’s share of accumulated profit for 22 months since the figure appears reasonable in the circumstance. Consequently, I order the defendant to pay the amount of GH¢27,500 to the plaintiff by way of special damages. I also award general damages of GHC 8,000.00 and costs of GHC 5,000.00 are also awarded against the defendant and in favour of the plaintiff.