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Business News

Innoson boss reacts to arrest warrant, says order is an abuse of process taken so far

@innosonvehicles boss, Innocent Chukwuma is accusing @GTBank of being behind his arrest warrant and this is what he did about it.

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Innocent Chukwuma, Innoson, GTBank, Guaranty Trust Bank

The founder and chairman of Innoson Nigeria Limited, Innocent Chukwuma has reacted to the arrest warrant issued by the Federal High Court yesterday. The court had granted the request of a Director in the Ministry of Justice to arrest Chukwuma and two others, in order to arraign him in court to face criminal charges.

Chukwuma in a series of tweets on his company’s Twitter account, @innosonvehicles, stated that Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) was behind the arrest warrant issued, stating that the issuance of bench warrant against him is an abuse of process taken too far.

Nairametrics had reported that Justice Ayokunle Faji granted the request made by the prosecutor, Mr Julius Ajakaiye to arrest Chukwuma, Charles Chukwu, and Anajekwu Sunny over their refusal to present themselves in court for a case bordering on conspiracy, forgery, and fraud to the tune of N2.4 billion filed by the IGP through the Federal Ministry of Justice sometime in December 2015.

Innoson arrest warrant, innoson and GTBank, NADDC injects N11bn fund into local vehicle production

Innoson motors

The three, alongside Innoson Nigeria Limited and a shipping company, Mitsui Osk, were charged before the court, but only Mitsui Osk was represented in court. So Ajakaiye informed the court that the warrant of arrest was in pursuant with sections 113, 114 and 395 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

Chukwuma refuted the charges in a press release sent to Nairametrics. He explained that there is no prima facie case against him. According to Chukwuma, the charge was based on suspected action of Innoson Nigeria Limited, and Innoson Nigeria Limited was a party originally to the charge but was discharged by the Court of Appeal. Recall that Nairametrics reported that the Appeal Court discharged Innoson Motors.

[READ ALSO: Meet Kano Cars, Innoson’s local competitor]

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No grounds for arrest warrant: The Innoson boss said that there was no notice of trial served on him in pursuant to the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

He disclosed that a case is pending in the Supreme Court to determine whether he was served with the charge, adding that the charge is also an abuse because of a similar suit in relation to the charge pending at different Federal High Courts.

But this is not the first time an arrest warrant will be issued against Chukwuma. Justice Mojisola Dada of the special offences court in Lagos had done same in 2018. He had also been arrested by Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2017, an incident many believed was in connection to Innoson Motor’s ongoing case with GTBank. The bank, however, issued a statement denying their involvement in the development.

Note that the act provides that before the court should issue a bench warrant, there must be proof of service of the charge and the notice of trial on the person involved.

[READ ALSO: Reactions trail EFCC’s vow to punish Innoson boss]

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Police dropped charge against him: Chukwuma further stated that the basis of the arrest warrant was no longer valid as the Police had withdrawn the 2015 charge (CHARGE NO: FHC/L/565/2015) filed against him on February 17, 2016. The withdrawal was filed at the Federal High Court Registry in Lagos.

[READ ALSO: Innoson partners Nigeria Army on military hardware]

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GT Bank’s alleged involvement:

  • According to Chukwuma, GTB compelled an unnamed Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to claim to have taken over the Charge/case using the name of the Attorney General of the Federation after the Police had withdrawn the case.
  • The DPP was eventually dismissed from his position due to his involvement in this matter and his complicities, Chukwuma alleged in the statement.

  • Why GTBank is pulling the strings according to Chukwuma is to compel the Innoson Motors chairman to negotiate from a ‘weaker position’ in a case involving Innoson Motors and GTBank.

[READ ALSO: Why Court wants company owned by Israeli billionaire liquidated immediately]

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  • What transpired between GTB and Innoson: The company claims that GTBank lost a Supreme Court appeal for it to rescind the lower court’s decision for it to pay back Innoson N2.4 billion plus interest at 22% per annum in “illegal charges” against the car maker.
  • According to Innoson, the Judgment debt of N2.4 billion has an accrued interest of about N6,717,909,849.96 as of 2019, which results in about N8.8 Billion, but as of 2014, it was N6 billion.

In the statement, the company urged GTBank to comply with the Supreme Court judgment and pay the over N9 billion judgment debt within the unstated time-frame given to the bank or Innoson will execute the Writ of Fifa against GTBank.

What is a Writ of Fifa: This is a court document used by the successful plaintiff to enforce the judgment of a court by taking a lien on a property of the defendant that it believes is worth more than the amount being owed.

[READ ALSO: $9bn fine: P&ID open to settlement as court order to seize Nigeria’s assets is awaited]

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Meanwhile, he disclosed that he has filed a suit to appeal against the Order of Bench Warrant to the Court of Appeal and have as well filled a Motion for Stay of Execution of the Order.

GTBank is yet to respond to the accusation of perpetrating the arrest warrant of Chukwuma.

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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Hospitality & Travel

MMA2 imports new x-ray machines from US

MMA2, Lagos took delivery of new x-ray machines ordered by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) to upgrade its facilities.

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The Murtala Muhammed Airport, Terminal 2, Lagos has taken delivery of new x-ray machines ordered by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) to upgrade its facilities on Friday.

This was disclosed by the Group Corporate Affairs Manager of BASL, operator of MMA2, Mikail Mumuni, in a statement on Friday.

He said, “The equipment imported from the US arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos Wednesday night from where they were later moved to MMA2.

”Installation of the x-ray machines and air conditioners will commence on Friday evening and that this would be completed within one week.”

The BASL spokesperson quoted the acting Head of Business of the company, Mr. Ralph Uchegbu as saying that “the installation of the new X-ray machines and air conditionals will further reinforce the status of MMA2 as the nation’s pre-eminent airport terminal in terms of customers security and comfort.”

What you should know

  • BASL recently announced that it had invested over $500,000 massive upgrading of its X-ray machines and air conditioning systems for passengers safety, security and comfort.

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Corporate Press Releases

Peter Obaseki retires as Chief Operating Officer of FCMB Group Plc

Mr Peter Obaseki, the Chief Operating Officer of FCMB Group has retired from the financial institution.

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The Board of Directors of FCMB Group Plc has announced the retirement of Mr. Peter Obaseki, the Chief Operating Officer of the financial institution, with effect from March 1, 2021. He was also an Executive Director of the Group.

His retirement was approved at a meeting of the Board of the Group on February 26, 2021. This has also been announced in a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by the financial institution.

The Chairman of FCMB Group Plc’s Board of Directors, Mr Oladipupo Jadesimi, thanked Mr. Obaseki for his valuable service and excellent support to the Board for many years.

FCMB Group Plc is a holding company divided along three business Groups; Commercial and Retail Banking (First City Monument Bank Limited, Credit Direct Limited, FCMB (UK) Limited and FCMB Microfinance Bank Limited); Investment Banking (FCMB Capital Markets Limited and CSL Stockbrokers Limited); as well as Asset & Wealth Management (FCMB Pensions Limited, FCMB Asset Management Limited and FCMB Trustees Limited).

The Group and its subsidiaries are leaders in their respective segments with strong fundamentals.

For more information about FCMB Group Plc, please visit www.fcmbgroup.com.

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