Monday, March 29, 2021

Ethiopian Law of Contract- Debtor’ Right to Receipt

  Debtor’ Right to Receipt (Art.1761-1762)

Whenever required, the debtor has a duty to prove that he has properly discharged his obligation (Art.2001 (2). One means that the debtor can use to prove the performance of the contract is by obtaining written evidence from the creditor (Art.2002). Moreover; an agent has duty to account to the principal all expenses made by him on behalf of the principal.

Furthermore; government agencies and business organizations especially those working in the financial sector have legal duty to undergo internal and external auditing. Such accounting or auditing is possible only if the agent or the company is able to provide evidence for expenses it has made.  Such evidence is also very important for calculation of tax obligation. Receipt is, therefore; such written evidence given by the creditor to the debtor. The debtor has a right to claim receipt and a creditor has an obligation to give receipt.

In addition to claim receipt the debtor has also the right to claim the cancellation or return of documents evidencing the obligation, provided he has fully discharged his obligation (Art. 1762). If the debt is partly performed such part performance has to be indicated on the document evidencing the obligation. If the creditor alleges that the document is lost he has to give to the debtor another written document that contains his allegation. 

The creditor has a duty to prove that there was a contract between him and the debtor (Art.2001 (1). If the contract was in written document he proves by presenting such written document (2003). If he returns he has no means to prove the obligation. Even if he uses other alternative means of prove, the debtor can show that he has performed the obligation by showing that the document evidencing the obligation was returned to him.  Returning document evidencing obligation to the debtor raises the presumption that the debt has been paid (Art.2020). If partial payment was indicated document evidencing obligation the evidence to be presented by the creditor enables the debtor to prove that he has partly performed his obligation, including the extent of such part performance. If the document was destroyed the creditor has less chance to improperly claim second payment (but see Art.2003 which gives the room for witness testimony.)

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