Victory At Last, Innoson Motors Set To Seal GTB Head Office Over N8.8B Debt…..GTB Reacts, Claiming Judgement Is Against A Customer And Not The Bank

tInnoson Motors have said it would move to the headquarters of Guaranty Trust Bank in Lagos, to effect the judgement of courts that awarded it an estimated N8.8billion. The company’s spokesman Cornell Osigwe said this in an interview on Saturday. Already, Innoson’s agents had sealed seven branches of the bank in Awka and Enugu and plans to take further action by sealing the head office of the top flight bank.

“From next week, we shall move to GTB Head Office to enforce the judgement of courts. We will sell those properties to get our money back”, Osigwe said.

However, GTBank Plc, has claimed that the judgement Innoson is executing was not against it but a customer of the bank, Nigerian Customs and Excise Board.

In a statement, the bank’s secretary, Eric Obebeduo said the garnishee order in question, arose from a judgment of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, Oyo State.

The bank said the order was not against it but a customer of the bank, Nigerian Customs and Excise Board.

“It is important to state that the Judgment allegedly in issue is in respect of Garnishee Proceedings against the account of the Nigerian Customs Services Board, domiciled with the Bank and not against the Bank as an entity.

“The Bank as a law-abiding corporate citizen is taking all necessary legal steps to address this situation and ensure that no illegal or fraudulent execution is carried out”, Obededuo said.

However, Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited said its action, the sealing of seven GTB offices in Awka and Enugu, followed a Supreme Court judgement that affirmed the earlier judgement by the high court and the appeal court in Ibadan.

Innoson in a statement claimed it obtained a court order to take control of GTB over indebtedness of N8.8 Billion. Osigwe said the company has obtained a writ of Fi fa from the Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State, against Guaranty Trust Bank ( GTB), to take over the bank’s properties.

According to Osigwe, Innoson Chairman, Innocent Chukwuma, has been mandated by Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State, to “take over” the bank after the Supreme Court dismissed GTB’s appeal against the judgement of the Appeal Court in Ibadan.

“The Chairman of Innoson Group, Chief Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, OFR hast through a Writ of Fi Fa taken over Guaranty Trust Bank PLC for and on behalf of Innoson Nigeria Ltd, as a result of the bank’s indebtedness to Innoson Nigeria Ltd,”

“In a landmark decision on February 27th 2019, the Supreme Court of Nigeria had dismissed GTB’s appeal in a suit number SC.694/2014 — against the judgment of Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division.

“The Court of Appeal, Ibadan division had in its decision of 6th February 2014 dismissed GTB’s appeal against the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division.

“Thus, the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment of the Federal High Court Ibadan Division, which ordered GTB by way of Garnishee order absolute to pay N2.4Billion to Innoson with a 22 percent interest per annum, on the judgments until the final liquidation of the debt.

Rather than obey the judgment of the Court of Appeal, GTB approached the Supreme Court to challenge the Court of Appeal’s decision”

The company also said that in a ruling delivered by Supreme Court, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour dismissed GTB’s appeal and affirmed the concurrent judgment of both the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division.

According to the ruling, court ordered GTB to pay N2.4 Billion to Innoson with a 22 percent interest, per annum, on the judgment until the final liquidation of the judgment.

“The Judgment debt of N2.4Bn has accrued an interest of about N6,717,909,849.96 today, which results to about N8.8 Billion,”

“Based on the Supreme Court’s decision of 27th February 2019, the counsel to Innoson, Prof McCarthy Mbadugha ESQ, approached the Federal High Court Awka Division, for leave to enforce the judgment having obtained certificates of Judgment from the Ibadan Division of the Federal High Court,” Osigwe said.

Innoson and GTB have for long been locked in legal tussles following disagreements over a business deal.

Chukwuma, the founder of Innoson Motors, dragged GTBank to court in 2011, alleging arbitrary charges levelled against him and a string of bank accounts he held at the bank. But GTBank later counter-sued, saying it was Chukwuma who allegedly falsified bank and shipping documents to obtain tax waivers from the Nigerian government.

The bank subsequently referred the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The anti-graft agency filed criminal charges against Chukwuma at a Lagos court. Last month, he was declared wanted for failing to appear for arraignment in the matter, which is still proceeding separately from the N14 billion arbitrary charges lawsuit currently at appellate levels.

Chukwuma denied the allegations of doctoring shipping documents. He said that the matter had previously been investigated by the EFCC and the police, both of whom cleared him of any wrongdoing. He accused GTBank of using law enforcement agencies to hound him and cripple his business, a claim the bank also denied.

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