The media rage and saga between Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), may not end anytime soon, as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) vowed to ensure the arrest of the company’s Chairman, Innocent Chukwuma.
In a statement by EFCC Spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren shortly after Justice Olusola Williams of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, struck out the case of fraud it instituted against Chukwuma, the anti-graft agency discloses its commitment of ensuring Chukwuma face fraud charges in court.
The court, according to reports, struck out the case after EFCC failed to produce Chukwuma in court for trial.
Following the court’s ruling and EFCC’s vow to prosecute Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited’s Chairman, Nigerians in thousand have taken to Twitter to express their displeasure about the long-term tussle between GTB, Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited, Innocent Chukwuma and EFCC.
Incase you're still wondering what the #DesperateGTB hashtag is about, here you have it. This is a column from yesterday's @Punchnewspaper . How this will end, nobody knows ?but time will tell. pic.twitter.com/WPHUgDAtE8
— Boaz Abigail (Abbie) (@boazabbie) October 12, 2018
@AJTweete tweeted; “EFCC bent on prosecuting Innoson, but upon reading the publication of
@MobilePunch, I’m sorry but EFCC’s story doesn’t add up. When did GTB started importing bike?”
@Opoyochuks tweeted; “THE
@OfficialEFCC SHOULD FOLLOW DUE PROCESS OF LAW IN PROSECUTING INNOSON”
However, Chukwuma and his company, Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited, were to be arraigned on four counts of conspiracy to obtain by false pretences, obtaining by false pretences, stealing and forgery. The defendants allegedly committed the offences between 2009 and July 2011 in Lagos.
How the saga began
Innoson Motors was involved in a N2.4 billion fraud scandal with GTB, which became public in 2017. The saga gained publicity following the arrest of the Innonson chairman by EFCC.
Following his arrest, Innoson took the battle to social media with campaigns against the bank such as #BewareOfGTBank and #WhatIsWrongWithGTBank.
In 2009, GTB granted Innoson several credit facilities and under the loan terms agreed by the transportation company on behalf of Chukwuma, proprietary interest in the imported goods are exclusively that of GTB. The original shipping documents were in the custody of the bank, and have remained in the custody of the bank and ownership could only be transferred to Innoson (or any other third party) by the bank when the condition in the agreement is reached.
It was learnt that Chukwuma approached the bank, on behalf of Innoson for the documents and was declined due to their failure to meet the agreed conditions, but in June 2011, the bank noticed that the imported goods had been procured by Innoson without its consent.
The bank’s endorsement on the bills of lading to the Shipping Line was forged as the original documents were still in the possession of the bank. GTB reported the case to the Nigeria Police and consequently, the police commenced an investigation into the bank’s complaint, including a forensic examination of the disputed signatures, and established that the signatures of the bank’s staff were forged, and the imported goods were fraudulently cleared from the Nigerian Ports Authority.
Chukwuma was arrested by EFCC in his residence in Enugu in December, 2017 for interrogations in Lagos over the alleged scandal.
The anti-graft agency also claims Chukwuma was arrested because of an alleged fraud case at Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and forgery of documents to obtain tax waivers.