The Chairman of Innoson Group of Companies and proprietor of the Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company, Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, has vowed to take over to take over the ownership and management of the Guarantee Trust Bank (GTBank), now Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc.
He said that he is looking forward to the day when he would take over the ownership and management of the bank, even as he assured all the customers of the GTB that when he takes over the bank, he will manage it better.
He urged the bank’s customers not to entertain any fear because he has not done any business that failed, adding that he would run the bank better than its current managers
It could be recalled that in the last eight years, the Nigeria, vehicles manufacturer and GTbank have been engaged in legal battles , which culminated in the Supreme Court decision in February 27, 2019 which ruled in favour of the Nnewi-based manufacturing outfit .
In the landmark decision , 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 per cent 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. As at the time , the judgment debt of N2.4billion has an accrued interest of about N6,717,909,849.96 which results to about N8.8 billion.
On March 2020 ,a statement signed by Cornel Osigwe, Innoson’s head of corporate communications read: “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.
Speaking during an interactive session with journalists ,recently, Chukwuma said that he used to have the best business relationship with the bank until the current managing director took over the leadership of the bank with ethnic bias and the relationship started going sour.
He said: “I am waiting for the time when the cumulative interest on the money GTB owes me would overwhelm it so that I will take over the bank. This is what I am waiting for. That is why I no longer disturb them. But I am assuring all the customers of the GTB that when I take over the bank, I will manage it better. So, they should not entertain any fear. I have not done any business that failed. I will run the bank better than its current managers.”
“I used to be the bank’s best customer in the South-east when Tayo was alive. It is because of me that it opened a branch in Nnewi. But the managing director that succeeded him was more interested in tribal fights. I think that is why he is fighting me. But I have proved him wrong in everything he is doing. I have defeated him in all the courts that heard the case. What is remaining is for the bank to pay me what it owes me.
“The bank carelessly and wrongfully deducted money from my accounts. When I discovered this I took the bank to court and won. But the bank has not paid me even though we had gone up to the Supreme Court. May be the managing director is waiting for Nigeria to change its laws because of him.
“But the beauty of the whole thing is that the money is attracting interest at the rate of 22 per cent. I have no other choice than to take over the bank if it cannot pay me what it owes to me. The interest has been running at 22 percent for about 11 years now. And the bank management does not want to resolve it.”
Chukwuma added that the bank is wasting time change its name because he would return the bank to its original name when he would took over its management.
Efforts to get officials of the GTBank to respond to Innoson Group Chairman was not successful.
But in response the to the Supreme Court judgement, Erhi Obebeduo, GTBank Company Secretary then , said: “The attention of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (“the Bank”} has been drawn to statements circulating in the news and social media in respect of a purported enforcement of a Judgment of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, Oyo State at one of its branches in Anambra State.
“The Bank as a law-abiding corporate citizen is taking all necessary legal steps to address this situation and ensure that no illegal or fraudulent execution is carried out.
“It is important to state that the Judgment allegedly in issue is in respect of Garnishee Proceedings against the account of the Nigerian Customs Service Board domiciled with the Bank and not against the Bank as an entity.