The humiliation of the Chairman/Managing Director of Nigerian indigenous vehicle company, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 is one of the thousands of human right abuses perpetrated by the power-hungry anti graft agency.
I’m not drumming support for Chief Chukwuma because he founded made-In-Nigeria vehicles, neither am I going to back him for violating any of the Nigerian law, but the fact that Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), or any other heavyweight within the political class is using EFFC as their chasing dog to intimidate the industrialist.
Reports said EFFC operatives had invaded his home at Savage Crescent, GRA, Enugu, with heavily armed policemen slapping his wife in the process, according to report, before they forcibly arrested him.
EFCC had not release official statement before arresting the Nigerian business mogul, but had cited tax invasion and forgery of tax waiver as reasons he was picked along with his brother, who EFCC claimed was at large.
However, an insider says the issue is between Chief Chukwuma and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), which is before court of jurisdiction.
In a report published by The Punch, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who has access the Innoson told his fellow senators that invasion of Chief Chukwuma private home by EFCC showed that the operatives were only out to humiliate a man that has provided jobs to over 5,000 Nigerians.
According to him, Innoson boss had won a case he filed against GTB at a Federal High Court and won again at Court of Appeal, while the matter was pending at the Supreme Court.
Chief Chukwuma is a powerful man considering his industrial status, but all around the world, I’ve seen powerful individuals arrested and sentenced for offences they actually committed, and such sentences were executed through fair judicial means.
Samsung Group Chief Jay Y. Lee is one of the powerful men that had faced prosecution in the past. He was arrested February 2017 over his role in a corruption scandal rocking the highest levels of power in South Korea. He was indicted on charges including bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas and perjury.
Lee wasn’t arbitrarily arrested and detained like EFCC is doing, he was told his offences. He couldn’t resist arrest because he already knew while he was being arrested, the option left for him was to challenge the allegations leveled against him in a court.
But EFCC only arrested Chief Chukwuma without formal charges while he’s been arrested. It’s expected that supporters of such an industrialist could resist arrest of a man who is providing food on their table.
While I understand that no one is above the law, but we must also understand that GT Bank is one of the Nigerian banks that surcharged its customers arbitrarily, if a customer doesn’t have access to justice.
EFCC as an intruder
From what I observed, it’s glaring that GT Bank cooked up a report to instigate EFCC against the Innoson founder with specific inducement to humiliate him.
Though EFCC has released Chief Innocent Chukwuma, which it accused of perpetrating fraud to the tune of N1.4billion, the case requires an intervention.
“The EFCC has released Chief Innocent Chukwuma, CEO of INNOSON on bail. Chukwuma and his brother, Charles (who is at large) are being investigated by EFCC’s Capital Market and Insurance Fraud Section for N1,478,366,859.66 fraud. He allegedly forged documents to secure tax waivers,” the anti-graft agency says on twitter.
Chief Innocent Chukwuma isn’t the first person who has issue with his bank. The Chairman of Tuns Farms, Osogbo, Osun State, Chief Badmus, had an issue with Skye Bank.
Osogbo branch office was invaded by thugs allegedly sponsored by the Tuns Farms founder, but the case was later amicably resolved.
The story didn’t get out of Osogbo, only those who had relatives here heard about it. I didn’t hear story of arrest made by anyone.
The case between Innoson boss and GTB is a clear case of bank-customer relationship and should let be.
And if that isn’t enough, I have just a question for EFCC:
Why is EFCC charging Chief Chukwuma for forgery at a time the Innoson boss had issue with GTB?
This simply means anyone could use the anti-graft agency to oppress his fellow man. EFCC operatives must be called to order.
If the operatives are ignorant of the act establishing EFCC and their responsibilities, they should be properly tutored so that they’d know what their functions are.
I think there should be more government incentives to even boost Innoson Motors for the company to have its plants in other parts of the country than using EFCC to suppress indigenous company.
EFCC must understand that Chief Chukwuma is one of the industrious first class Nigerian citizens making efforts to contribute to reshape Nigerian economy, which largely depends on imported vehicles, and he should be accorded the respect he deserves.
GT Bank should clear itself of the allegation that it’s using EFCC as a tool against one of its major customers, and offer unreserved apologies, if it had actually carried out the act.
I’m standing with Innoson because he has been humiliated by a group of intruders called EFCC.