Automaker, Innoson Motors has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of double standards.
This was made known in a statement issued to newsmen by Innoson’s spokesman, Cornel Osigwe.
Osigwe also called on the anti-graft agency to follow the due process of the law in prosecuting Innoson boss, Innocent Chukwuma.
The group’s spokesman, in the statement, wondered why the EFCC wants to tarnish Chukwuma’s image.
He said “It has become necessary to address the modus operandi being used by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in prosecuting the alleged trumped up fraud charge against the Chairman of Innoson Group at the Lagos State High Court.
“Are some EFCC officers hell bent or sent to destroy Chief Innocent Chukwuma? Are these agents acting alone or are they being influenced by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) in other to destroy Nigeria foremost industrialist?
“This question has become necessary after closely monitoring the activities or interest of EFCC in a clearly business dispute between Innoson Nigeria Ltd and Guaranty Trust Bank. The Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu often times have appeared as one who does his work based on objective principles and therefore should look into the activities of some of his officers who have taken the side of subjectivity.”
Arrest GTB MD
Osigwe also urged the EFCC to arrest and prosecute Guaranty Trus Bank (GTB’s) Managing Director, Mr Segun Agbaje, alleging that the bank stole money from Innoson’s account.
“Instead of EFCC arresting and prosecuting GTB and its Managing Director, Mr Segun Agbaje since its investigations show that GTB stole money from Innoson’s account, EFCC is busy twisting the facts and wanting to destroy Innoson’s chain of businesses because he is an Igbo man.
“It is on record that GTB's indebtedness to innoson as at today is over N22billion- arising from two separate judgment debts in suit numbers Fhc/L/cs/603/2006 and Fhc/AWK/CS/139/2013. One of these judgments against GTB is as a result of the money it stole from Innoson's account with it. Both judgments were delivered by Federal High Court, Ibadan and Awka Divisions respectively.
“EFCC/GTB's aim in sponsoring and championing this campaign is to force Innoson to stop forgo this huge judgment debt. Recall that GTB had in affidavits it filed at the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division and the Supreme Court and deposed that if it pays the judgment debt it will collapse.
“EFCC is a Federal Government Agency, created by Law to fight against financial crimes and provide law and order in the business environment based on objective principles. Therefore, it should stand as an unbiased umpire in the case of Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) and should not be manipulated by GTB to do its bidding at will,” he added.
Speaking on the alleged double standard of EFCC, Osigwe said the anti-graft agency “ignored and abandoned a prosecution by the Attorney General of Federation at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi in charge number FHC/L/565C/2015 against Innoson Nigeria Limited And Others, which was instigated by GTB and rushed to the Lagos State High Court Ikeja to file a fresh charge in respect of the subject matter, issues, parties and transaction same as the one being prosecuted by the Attorney General of the Federation at the Federal High Court Ikoyi.
“There is nowhere in this world this is done as this is clearly an abuse of court process. Some EFCC officers in doing the bidding of GTB allowed themselves to engage in double standard in a matter they should stand as the unbiased umpire.”
Court strikes out EFCC's case
“The striking out of the trumped up fraud charge filled by the EFCC at the Lagos State High Court on Wednesday October 10 2018 by Hon Justice Williams was not because Chief Innocent Chukwuma failed to appear before the court but because EFCC failed to convince the court that it properly served Chief Innocent Chukwuma, Chairman Innosson Motors Nigeria Ltd, the court papers (the charge) before seeking for an order for bench warrant/ declaration of wanted.
“The Judge while striking the case out, advised EFCC to get its acts together before coming to court.
“It is also interesting to state that the charge and now the allegation for which EFCC is vowing to arrest Innoson is a trumped up and a charade is supported by Justice Olushola Williams' statement when in striking out the charge, Her lordship stated that the court cannot continue to waste precious time calling a case that is going nowhere,” Innoson’s spokesman said.
Osigwe also wondered why the EFCC issued a statement in the media vowing to prosecute Chukwuma, after the court struck out the case it filed against the entrepreneur.
He said “Why the rush to the media by EFCC to publicly announce the arrest of Innoson after it has its trumped up case struck out by the court? EFCC should learn to follow due process of law in handling its prosecution.
“It is on record that EFCC never served Innoson any court papers nor extended any Letter of Invitation to him; Therefore why the campaign of calumny in the media suggesting that Innoson has been evading arrest. Again, EFCC should understand that there is no such charge by it against Innoson in any court in Nigeria, the previous one having been struck out.
“Again, Innoson having appealed on 11th October 2018 to the Court of Appeal against the order striking out on the ground that it should be dismissal for being an abuse of court process that the charge is only pending at the court of appeal. “And since the court of Appeal is not a court of original jurisdiction and there won't be any trial there, arresting Innoson on grounds of that is not justifiable in law; also to commence a new charge while the appeal is pending as well as the one at the federal high court- suit no. fhc/L/565c/2015 Will amount to a gross abuse of court process and disrespect for rule of law.
“It seems that there are some officers of EFCC who are conniving with GTB in its campaign of calumny with the motive of constantly destroying the image and reputation of Chief Innocent Chukwuma using the media.
“It appears GTB has failed to learn from many of its blunders and mistakes in its jankara style of trying to damage the reputation of Chief Innocent Chukwuma but we advise them to tread with caution because the power of truth never declines. Force and violence may be effective in the short term, but in the long run, it is truth that will finally prevail. “
Guaranty Trust Bank Plc has however maintained that the purported court order to pay Innoson Motors a certain amount of money is false.