Innocent Chukwuma,
Innocent Chukwuma, CEO, Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited

Update: Innoson has since withdrawn this claim by deleting the tweet and posting new tweets affirming that the Supreme Court did not order GT Bank to pay N14 billion.

We have however retained the original article for posterity.


Nigeria’s car manufacturer, Innoson Motors reported on Thursday that the Supreme Court of Nigeria struck off the ‘motion for stay’ filed by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) while ordering it to pay the sum of ₦14 billion to Innoson Motors’ CEO in the next 14 days.

Innoson Motors’s Head of Corporate Communications, Cornel Osigwe, made this claim in a series of posts shared on the company’s official Twitter page.

GT Bank did not immediately respond to the tweet. However, the bank issued a press release on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange denying the claim.

Supreme Court ruling according to Innoson

Prior to the ruling by the Supreme Court, Innoson’s lead counsel, Professor McCarthy Mbadugha, argued that GTBank is owing Innoson Motors the sum of ₦14 billion. The sum is an accrued total of a ‘judgment debt’ of about ₦6 billion which the Enugu court of Appeal had ordered the bank to pay back in 2014.

Coronation Research

According to the 2014 appeal court ‘judgment debt’ ruling, the money was to be kept in trust by the court’s Chief Registrar, whose duty it was to deposit same in any reputable interest-yielding bank other than Mainstreet Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc. The money would then stay in the said bank account and accrue interests, pending the final ruling of the court. Whichever party wins the case would get the money along with all accrued interests, the ruling said.

But GTBank rejected this Appeal Court ruling and filed the contentious ‘motion for stay’ which the Supreme Court struck out today. The Supreme Court said it will not “hear GTBank’s motion for stay of execution until it obeys the ruling of the Court of Appeals to pay the said money into an interest yielding account.”

Flashback

Recall that this protracted litigation had exploded late last year when the EFCC arrested Innoson Motors’ CEO, Innocent Chukwuma, alleging fraud on his part.

The controversial arrest of the industrialist was immediately connected to his case with GTBank. The bank, however, shut down the speculation, even as it went silent in the coming days while speculations were rife as to whether the controversy would affect its 2017 performance.

GT Bank’s response

GT Bank later issued a press release on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange flatly denying the claims. In fact, GT Bank did not make a single reference to Innoson but rather referenced reports in social media and in the news claiming that the  “purported directive of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the Bank to make any payment to any of its debtor customers” as “false, malicious and mischevious .”

The bank reported a 4% increase in profit for Q1 2018. Profit grew to ₦52,624 billion, up from ₦50,392 billion in the comparable period last year. This is despite 10% decrease in revenue, which declined from ₦66,129 billion in Q1 2017 to ₦59,689 billion in Q1 2018.

The company’s shares was up 0.24%,  closing ₦42 today on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Emmanuel holds an MSc. in Political Science and a B.A in Philosophy & Logic from the University of Ibadan. He is experienced in such areas as Media/Communications, Administration, and Nonprofit. As an Editor at Nairametrics, his job entails managing a team of talented business writers/analysts who break and analyse some of the biggest news in Nigeria and elsewhere. Prior to this time, he served as a Business Analyst at Nairametrics, with focus on big corporations whose equities are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Keep in touch with him via emmanuel.abara@nairametrics.com

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