The Oasis Reporters
November 28, 2017
A lawsuit was recently filed by Innoson Group of companies claiming damages up to the sum of N30bn against GTBank, a leading and reputable bank in Nigeria. It has been in the news in the last few days. Our investigations revealed that in the course of the Banker and Customer relationship between GTBank and Innoson Nigeria Limited (“Innoson”), GTBank granted various credit facilities totalling N2,400,000,000.00 (two billion, four hundred million Naira only) to Innoson, to finance the importation of motorcycles and spare parts.
In the case of banker-customer relationship, once the contract is agreed by both parties, the bank has an obligation to provide the agreed facilities stated in the contract while the customer has the obligation of utilizing the said funds for the agreed purpose and ensuring loan repayments as and when due as contained in the contract.
The facilities granted to Innoson were secured by, lien over shipping documents covering the imported goods financed by GTBank; Legal Mortgage over properties located at Calabar, Enugu and Nnewi and Personal Guarantee of Chairman/Managing Director of Innoson, Chief Innocent Chukwuma.
According to very reliable and confirmed sources from GTBank, Innoson and Chief Innocent Chukwuma however failed to meet repayment obligations due under the facilities. It was at this stage that, the Bank discovered that Innoson and Chief Innocent Chukwuma had gone ahead and cleared several consignments of goods financed by the Bank without endorsed shipping documents, the originals of which are still in the Bank’s custody.
Upon discovery of the fraud, the Bank filed a Petition before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (“EFCC”) in May 27, 2013, to investigate the fraud committed against the Bank and bring Innoson and its Promoters to book.
Based on the Bank’s petition, Chief Innocent Chukwuma was arrested and interrogated by operatives of the EFCC, following which he agreed to make monthly payments into Innoson’s account until the full liquidation of Innoson’s indebtedness to the Bank.
However, Innoson defaulted in making the agreed payments. Investigations by the Nigeria Police following a petition bythe Bank in September 2013 also found Innoson and Chief Innocent Chukwuma culpable of the criminal allegations levied against them by the Bank, and Chief Innocent Chukwuma was accordingly charged to court by the Police.
To stall the criminal proceedings against him, Chief Innocent Chukwuma and his company instituted suits at the Federal High Court, Abuja, as well as the Federal High Court, Awka in January 2014 against The Inspector General of Police, The Nigeria Police Force and Investigating Officer(s), seeking declaratory and injunctive reliefs, including orders restraining the Police from commencing criminal proceedings against Innoson and Chief Innocent Chukwuma.
Furthermore, in a bid to stall the Bank’s recovery steps, and distract the Bank from focusing on the criminal action, as well as civil actions filed for recovery of the debt, Chief Innocent Chukwuma and his company Innoson, have continued to institute various spurious suits before various courts, claiming frivolous and outrageous sums against the Bank.
With no other alternative and to ensure the recovery of depositors funds held by Innoson, the Bank instituted a recovery action against Innoson at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
This is in addition to a Winding up action instituted against Innoson by the Bank, which is still pending in court.
Pursuant to the suit instituted by the Bank at the Federal High Court, Lagos, the Bank secured mareva orders against Innoson freezing its Bank accounts in all Banks in Nigeria in September 2014.
The new N30 Billion action filed by Innoson at the Federal High Court, Awka was instituted on the basis of purported damages which it suffered as a result of the mareva orders granted by the Federal High Court, Lagos in favour of the Bank. According to some legal experts we spoke to, this new suit is in continuation of Innoson’s antics to distract the Bank from focusing on the criminal matter pending with the EFCC and the Police. The legal experts also interpreted these Innoson’s moves as legal delay tactics and antics, to avoid or delay paying its indebtedness and discharging its obligations to the Bank, which stands in excess of N2.billion, while interest continues to accrue.
We gathered from our source in the Bank, that the recovery of borrowed funds is a matter of integrity and is always in the long term interest of its depositors and the society at large.