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More facts are expected to continue to emerge following the humiliating arrest of the Chairman, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM), Chief Innocent Chukwuma, on Tuesday, December 19, 2017, by Nigeria’s anti-graft agency Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The industrialist has been released after the National Assembly condemned EFCC’s action as an abuse of power.
Also, millions of Nigerians on social media also condemned the anti-graft agency’s action.
Justifying its action, EFCC said he arrested Innoson boss for frauds related offence which it alleged he committed a few years ago, a case we believed had been laying on EFCC’s table until a loan disagreement between IVM and Guaranty Trust Bank heightened.
According proshareng.com in a post title, “Innoson Group Vs GTBank 30 Key Points you need to know about their dispute,” it’s clear that the anti-graft agency allowed itself to be used to silent Chief Chukwuma and possibly make IVM run out business.
Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) is one of the heavyweight customers of GTBank. In fact we won’t be wrong if we referred to Chief Innocent Chukwuma as GTB Whale. He runs a Current Account with the bank.
Was EFCC invited by GTBank when IVM started doing business with the bank? Better still, was the anti-graft agency told how much gains it was making from IVM Current Account?
IVM was said to have obtained a loan of N1.3billion from GTBank, and repaid the loan on twenty two percent (22%) interest rate.
Poser for EFCC
Was EFCC invited to witness the repayment of the loan? Was the anti-graft agency made a witness when papers for the loan were signed?
After the loan was repaid by IVM, Chief Chukwuma was said to have later discovered that GTBank placed illegal charges on Innoson current account.
To resolve the issue of illegal charges, both parties agreed to employ the services of an auditing firm.
At the end, they both commissioned MULTI-WINGS Consulting Firm of Auditors to carry out the task. The auditing covered March 2004 to December 2011.
At the end, the auditors revealed that GTBank had been deducting illegal fees from Innoson account to the tune of N786,205,955.99K.
GTBank rejected the auditing report even though it’s an independent firm both agreed on.
Instead, the bank embarked on its own auditing and submitted that the excess charges was N559,000,372.
That’s a difference of N227,205,583. With the huge difference, Innoson was said to have agreed that GT Bank repays the excess of N559,000,372 instead of N786,205,955.99
Innoson isn’t the only victims of illegal charges, GT Bank too isn’t the only bank involved in this kind of unlawful banking charges.
Millions of Nigerians who bank with GT Bank have different stories to tell on how they’ve been cheated through excessive charges.
When aggrieved and helpless Nigerians complained nothing would be done. Since most of them don’t have the financial strength to employ the services of a lawyer, they leave the case of illegal deductions into the hands of God.
Most times, customers experience between N10 to N50 illegal deductions, that amount isn’t enough to institute legal action, right?
But if N10 is deducted from the account of one million customers, who operate Savings Account, it makes N10,000,000 monthly.
Nigerian banks have become unavoidable evil.
It’s good the illegal activities of GT Bank have been exposed to the entire World. It wouldn’t have been possible if Innoson Group didn’t have financial access to legal advice.
Was the GT Bank trying to build IVM or wreck it by illegally imposing excessive charges of N559,000,372 (as later agreed) on the company’s account?
Poser for EFCC
Did Chief Innocent or IVM invite the anti-graft agency to arrest GT Bank’s Excos for the deduction of N559,000,372 illegal banking charges from his account?
Innoson was said to have agreed on N559,000,372 GT Bank was willing to repay, but demanded that the repayment should be on 22% interest rate.
GT Bank said NO, saying it could only repay excess and illegal deduction at 7% interest rate.
If Innoson paid 22% interest on its N1.3Billion loan from the bank between March 2004 to December 2011, why did GT Bank find 22% interest rate too high to pay, when it’s collecting the same rate from IVM?
Did Chief Innocent or IVM invite the EFCC to humiliate GT Bank Excos at any point?
This is clear case of selfishness and plan to make IVM run out of business.
If GT Bank isn’t agreeing by the 22% term, Innoson had no other option than to seek justice in court.
In 2012 Innoson dragged its bank to a Federal High Court (FHC), Awka in a suit number FHC/Awk/Cs/2012.
The court ruled in favour of Innoson that if N559,000,372 GT Bank was willing to repay is calculated by 22% interest rate from March 2004 to December 2011, the bank would pay Innoson the total sum of N4.7billion.
GT Bank appealed the ruling at Court of Appeal in 2013, Innoson won again. As the year grew, the total repayment was also increasing going by the 22% interest rate. This time, GT Bank would repay Innoson N6Billion.
GT bank feared it might go out of business if it paid N6Billion to Innoson, and went to the apex court, which is still before the Supreme Court.
The cases above aren’t the only ones Innoson had won against Guaranty Trust Bank, yet the bank keeps appealing. Each time it did, Innoson won.
For GT Bank to think that the EFFC option to deal with Chief Innocent is the last solution is the most disastrous thing the bank may have to deal with in the incoming years, while it continues to incur more legal charges, and lose customers in the process.
AGF disowns EFCC
The office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) supervises the activities of EFCC, as such cases of corrupt charges are meant to be submitted and verified by the minister before actions could be taken by the anti-graft agency.
Unfortunately, the minister Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) on Thusday, December 21, 2017 in Abuja said he didn’t know why Chief Innocent was arrested by EFCC.
“In all sincerity, I wasn’t privy to facts that led to the arrest. I haven’t been briefed by the relevant agency. But one thing I know is the fact there has been a case between him (Chief Innocent) and the GTBank that is pending in court and it is being prosecuted.
Apart from that, I am not privy to facts and circumstances that led to his alleged arrest,” The Punch quoted Malami as saying.
Simply put, there is no fraud or corruption charges against the IVM founder on Malami’s table.
Going by this, there is collaboration between GT Bank and EFCC with the aim of intimidating Chief Innocent to back out of his court cases against GTB.
It’s believed that if EFCC was successful in its concocted fraud charges against Innoson, it’d be easy for GTB to easily prevail over Chief Innocent in a planned settle-out-of-court negotiation.
Why is EFCC charging Innoson boss at this time?
If Innoson actually has a case of fraud to answer years back, why is EFCC coming up with such at a time Innoson is winning court cases against GT Bank?
There are thousands of questions for EFCC and GT Bank to answer over their plan to wreck IVM, Nigeria’s indigenous car manufacturing company.
Where would GTBank run to if it lost in Supreme Court?
It’s time for the bank to settle out of court instead of employing EFCC intimidation option. It won’t work. Nigerians are closely watching.
If GTBank isn’t careful it could close shops, if it lost the Supreme Court case. The repayment would have grown above N10billion.
Already, some Nigerians are withdrawing their balances from the bank in solidarity using the hashtag #IStandWithInnoson.
GTBank should address the public and offer apology to its customers for the past misdeeds through illegal and dubious charges.