An indigenous automobile manufacturing company Innoson Nigeria Limited claims it has obtained a court order that allows it to take control of one of Nigeria’s biggest banks, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank).
Concise News reports that Innoson on Friday said it obtained a writ of Fi Fa from the Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra State, against GTB to implement the judgement given by Nigerian courts over the lingering crisis between it and the bank.
Innoson in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Cornel Osigwe, said a judgment given by the Federal High Court in Ibadan was upheld by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
A Writ of Fieri Facias (or Writ of Fi Fa) is a document issued by the court for the purpose of effecting court judgment on a debtor’s property. It is also the legal instrument by which the assets of a judgment debtor may be seized.
Innoson and GTB have for some time now been locked in legal tussles following disagreements over a business deal.
“The Chairman of Innoson Group, Chief Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, OFR has through a Writ of FiFa 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,” the statement read.
“In a landmark decision on February 27th 2019, the Supreme Court of Nigeria dismissed GTB’s appeal — 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% interest, per annum, on the judgment sum until the final liquidation of the judgment 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 auto firm stated.
Furthermore, the company in its statement says a ruling delivered by Supreme Court Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour dismissed GTB’s appeal and thus affirmed the concurrent judgment of both the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division.
The ruling, it said, ordered GTB to pay N2.4 billion to Innoson with a 22 per cent interest, per annum, on the judgment until the final liquidation of the verdict.
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.
However, GTBank later counter-sued, saying it was Chukwuma who allegedly falsified bank and shipping documents to obtain tax waivers from the Nigerian government.
Subsequently, the bank 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 going on separately from the N14 billion arbitrary charges lawsuit currently at appellate levels.
Chukwuma has denied the allegations of doctoring shipping documents, saying the matter had previously been investigated by the EFCC and the police both of whom cleared him of any wrongdoing.