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THE DOCTRINE OF EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW

Dictum

In BADINI SALFO V THE REPUBLIC OF BURKINA FASO JUD NO: ECW/CCJ/JUD/13/12, the Court while relying in its judgment in CNDD v. COTE D’ IVOIRE (2009) Para 55, and PROF. ETIM MOSES v. REP OF GAMBIA, (2007) Para 31, held that: “Equality before the law presupposes that equal treatment is accorded people finding themselves in similar situations. Thus, examining the allegation of the violation of the principle of equality requires that, at least two similar legal situations be put side by side as to compare and find out whether an ill treatment was concretely meted out to either one or both of them”.

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PENSION IS PROPERTY

✓ Registered Trustees of Association of Former Telecom Employees of Nigeria &17,102 Ors. V. Federal Republic of Nigeria & Ors. ECW/CCJ/JUD/20/19 it held as follows. “In light of the above, the Court holds the view that pension is property which can be vested on an individual the denial of which therefore constitutes a violations of Right to property.”
✓ The United States Claim Tribunal in AMOCO INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CORPORATION V. IRAN, Award No 310-56-3 (14 July 1987), 15 Iran-US C.T.R. 189- 289, held that: “Under the Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the concept of property is very broadly defined by reference to all the proprietary interests of an individual. It covers a range of economic interests: “movable or immovable property, tangible and intangible interests, such as shares, patents, an arbitration award, the entitlement to a pension, a landlord’s entitlement to rent, the economic interests connected with the running of a business and the right to exercise a profession…” (Protocol I of the ECHR is pari material with Article 14 of the ACHPR).
✓ In further support of the above opinion the ECHR has held in the case of BÉLÁNÉ NAGY v. HUNGARY (Application no.53080/13) JUDGMENT STRASBOURG 10 February 2015 @ 36 that: “Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 places no restriction on the Contracting State’s freedom to decide whether or not to have in place any form of social security scheme, or to choose the type or amount of benefits to provide under any such scheme. If, however, a Contracting State has in force legislation providing for the payment as of right of a welfare benefit whether conditional or not on the prior payment of contributions that legislation must be regarded as generating a proprietary interest falling within the ambit of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 for persons satisfying its requirements.”

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EXPERT IS PERMITTED TO GIVE AN OPINION BASED ON HEARSAY

Para. 40: “It is common knowledge that an expert’s opinion is usually based on his training and experience. In law an expert is permitted to give an opinion on the basis of hearsay information, provided that it relates to specific matters of which he does have personal knowledge. Thus a doctor can give evidence of what he was told by a patient about his condition for the purpose of evaluating his diagnosis; though his testimony is inadmissible to show what symptoms were actually being experienced by the patient; see R. V. Bradshaw (1985) 82 Cr. App. R. 79, CA.”

— Saidykhan v GAMBIA (2010) – ECW/CCJ/JUD/08/10

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ONE WITNESS CAN TESTIFY – IT ALL DEPENDS ON CREDIBILITY & EVIDENCE ADDUCED

Para. 29: “The plaintiff testified on this issue by himself. No witness was called. Before we proceed the court has to state that failure to call a witness does not derogate from the evidence adduced by one person only, nor does it prevent the court from accepting and relying on the evidence of a sole witness. It all depends on credibility and the nature of the evidence adduced. And also as decided in the case of Morrow v. Morrow (1914) 2 I.R. 183 in a civil case where such testimony is unimpeached the court should act on it.”

— Saidykhan v GAMBIA (2010) – ECW/CCJ/JUD/08/10

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ALLEGATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION IS ENOUGH TO TRIGGER THIS COURT JURISDICTION

In the case of His Excellency Vice-President Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana v. Republic of Sierra Leone.-SUIT NO: ECW/CCJ/APP/38/16 and JUD NO: ECW/CCJ/JUD/19/17 (At page 14 of the judgment); the court held that: “Indeed Allegations of violations of Human Rights by an Applicant is sufficient to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court. This is distinct from the issues of the veracity of the allegation.”

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THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD CONNOTES AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE REPRESENTATION

Para. 53: “The Court recognizes the principles of Audi alteram partem (hear the other side) which requires that persons affected by an adverse position must be given an opportunity to make representation. The right to be heard by its own nature connotes an opportunity to be heard within a reasonable time by an impartial court or Tribunal. This right is not limited to a one on one verbal representation but encompasses every avenue accorded to a party to be heard in a matter. This Court 18 reiterated the principle that parties must be given an opportunity to be heard in any matter affecting their interest in the following words: “the right to fair hearing is a human right derived from the concept of fair hearing, in this regard, a fair trial is not only seen as an additional instrument for protection of the rights of defence largo sensu…..” See MOHAMMED TAYYIB BAH V. REP OF SIERRA LEONE JUD NO: ECW/CCJ/JUD/11/15, (Unreported) in its consideration relied on the case of Ugokwe v. Okeke (2008), CCJELR pg. 149@ 146.”

— Uuter Dery v Republic of Ghana (2019) – ECW/CCJ/JUD/17/19

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BURDEN TO PROVIDE RECORDS OF PENSION IS ON GOVERNMENT

In the case of Registered Trustees of Association of Former Telecom Employees of Nigeria &17,102 Ors. V. Federal Republic of Nigeria & Ors; ECW/CCJ/JUD/20/19, when this court held that: “It follows therefore that once the claimant makes out a prima facie case of entitlement to pension, by proof of employment but lacks access to the key information needed to substantiate his claim same being in the control of Respondent, such claim cannot fail due to being unsubstantiated. It is a recognized fact that salary records and computations matrix are in the normal cause of events in the custody and preserve of the employer in this case the Respondent. The burden to provide records of the pension entitlement of the Applicant having shifted to the Respondent, the Applicants are exonerated from proving their entitlement.”

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