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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

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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.

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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]

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]

  • 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.

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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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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 20th of September 2020, 97 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 57,242 confirmed cases.

On the 20th of September 2020, 97 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,609 samples across the country.

To date, 57,242 cases have been confirmed, 48,569 cases have been discharged and 1,098 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 482,321  tests have been carried out as of September 20th, 2020 compared to 479,712 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 20th September 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 57,242
  • Total Number Discharged – 48,569
  • Total Deaths – 1,098
  • Total Tests Carried out – 482,321

According to the NCDC, the 97 new cases were reported from 12 states- Lagos (46), Kwara (12), Rivers (11), Adamawa (4), Niger (4), Ogun (4), Osun (4), Ekiti (3), Imo (3), Kaduna (3), Plateau (2), FCT (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 18,943, followed by Abuja (5,551), Oyo (3,231), Plateau (3,231), Edo (2,611), Kaduna (2,348), Rivers (2,243), Delta (1,799), Ogun (1,766), Kano (1,734), Ondo (1,597), Enugu (1,234), Ebonyi (1,038), Kwara (1,025), Abia (881), Katsina (848), Osun (817), Gombe (799), Borno (741), and Bauchi (689).

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Imo State has recorded 562 cases, Benue (473), Nasarawa (448), Bayelsa (394),  Jigawa (322), Ekiti (317), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (254), Adamawa (234), Anambra (232), Sokoto (161), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (85), Zamfara (78), Yobe (75), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

 

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Economy & Politics

Godwin Obaseki wins Edo State governorship election

Incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki emerged winner in the Edo State gubernatorial election.

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Oil theft gulped $1.35 billion in first six months - Obaseki 

Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) has declared Godwin Obaseki the winner of the Edo State gubernatorial election today.

Mr. Obaseki will return as the Governor of the state for a second term.

The results were declared by INEC on Sunday afternoon after the results were counted from all LGA’s on Saturday.

Obaseki had 307,955 votes, which was enough to be declared a clear winner over Ize-Iyamu’s 223,619 votes.

Obaseki took to his Twitter handle to thank the people of Edo State for their votes. He stated,

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“Words fail me in saluting our teeming supporters who displayed immense courage in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalization. The collective will of Edo people made it possible for us to triumph over godfatherism. Congratulations to all Edo people. This is our victory!”

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Tech News

TikTok’s owner seeks $60 billion valuation in US deal as Oracle, Walmart take stakes

Oracle and Walmart have rights to buy 12.5% and 7.5% respectively of a newly established TikTok Global.

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Tiktok world’s most valuable startup is worth more than $100 billion

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance is seeking a valuation of $60 billion for its video-sharing app, as Oracle Corp and Walmart Inc take stakes in the technology firm’s US operations to address the security concerns of the Trump administration.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Oracle and Walmart have rights to buy 12.5% and 7.5% respectively of a newly established TikTok Global under an agreement that has gotten the approval of President Donald Trump.

The duo US firms would be paying a combined amount of $12 billion for their stakes if they reach an agreement with TikTok for the asking price of $60 billion.

READ: Oracle wins bid to acquire TikTok’s US operations after Microsoft offer was rejected

The final valuation had not been set as the parties worked out the equity and measures for data security.

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It was also stated that China is yet to approve the deal, although regulators are said to have expressed support for any transaction in which BtyeDance still maintains control of its valuable recommendation algorithms and other proprietary technology.

It would be recalled that President Donald Trump, had threatened to ban the ByteDance owned TikTok, over national security concerns, but which some analysts see as part of the row between US and China. This pressured ByteDance into the deal as they looked to avoid the ban by the US government.

READ: ByteDance, Tiktok’s parent company, now worth over $100 billion

The US officials had expressed concern that the personal data of as many as 100 million Americans that use the app were being passed on to the Chinese government.

ByteDance turned down the proposal of a full buyout from Microsoft Corp but rather agreed to Oracle’s offer in which the Chinese parent company will still maintain a majority stake in the technology firm.

Trump told reporters on Saturday, ‘’I approve the deal in concept. If they get it done, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s ok too.’’

READ: President Trump dumps plan to force foreign students to leave the US

Trump’s new stance appears to conflict with his earlier executive order for China’s ByteDance to divest from the video-sharing app’s operations in the United States.

ByteDance is in a race to avoid a ban on TikTok after the US Commerce Department said on Friday that it would block new downloads and updates to the app from Sunday.

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According to market researcher, CB Insights, ByteDance is the most valued private start-up in the world at $140 billion. Under the proposed deal, ByteDance may end up owning as much as 80% of TikTok Global, which include the app’s operations in the US and the rest of the world excluding China. Venture firms like Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic may also acquire equity in the new business.

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