Innoson, GTB Feud: Innoson Resolute On Sealing Bank's Facilities To Recover Debt - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Innoson, GTB Feud: Innoson Resolute On Sealing Bank's Facilities To Recover Debt


                

The judgement debt feud between Guarantee Trust Bank and Innoson Nigeria Limited, an auto manufacturing firm, has deepened with Innoson saying it remained resolute in its sustained efforts to seal the properties of GTBank, ostensibly to recover billions of naira debt owed it by the bank.

Innoson maintained that the "Garnishee order absolute was against GTB and no one else; and it is only GTB and no one else that will comply with the order," stressing that  "in the circumstance, the order will be executed against GTB and no one else."

As at Friday last week, about seven of the bank's branches were reportedly sealed by Innoson Motors while enforcing  a writ of Fifa it obtained  from the Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra State, against GTB.

The writ empowered Innoson  to effect the judgment given by a Federal High Court in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, and upheld by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

This was announced by Cornel Osigwe, the Head of Corporate Communication of Innoson, saying: “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. In a landmark decision on February 27th 2019, the Supreme Court of Nigeria dismissed GTB’s appeal — SC. 694/2014 — against the judgment of Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division.

“We have taken over GTBank in Awka and Nnewi... other branches are coming soon.”

Although, the GTbank quickly  moved to assure its customers of the safety of their funds, explaining  that the said judgement pertained  to the account of the Nigerian Customs Service Board domiciled with the bank, and not the bank as an entity.

“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 judgement of the Federal High court, Ibadan, Oyo state, at one of its branches in Anambra state,” it said in a statement on Friday night.

“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 a Garnishee Proceedings against the account of the Nigerian Customs Service Board domiciled with the Bank and not against the Bank as an entity.

“The Bank remains committed to providing best-in- class customer experience to all its valued customers.”


But reacting to the bank's position that the Garnishee Proceedings is against the account of the Nigerian Customs Service Board domiciled with GTBank and not against the Bank itself as an entity, Cornel Osigwe, Head of Corporate Communications; Innoson Group, accused GTBank of being economical with the truth.

Osigwe in a latest release titled, "The Enforcement of Judgment Against Guaranty Trust Bank," added that "there is no merit or force in the GTB’s press statement."

He stated: "We want to address the general public on the matters arising from the enforcement of judgment against GT Bank by Innoson Nigeria Ltd.

"GTB in a Press Statement signed by Erhi Obebeduo claims 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”. GTB by this claim is nothing short of being economical with the truth.

"The Garnishee order absolute issued by the Federal High Court Ibadan in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/603/2006 ordered GTB to pay Innoson Nigeria Ltd the judgment sum of N2.4 Billion with a 22% interest, per annum, on the judgment sum until the final liquidation of the judgment.

"GTB appealed the Federal High Court’s decision up to the Supreme Court and lost. From the Supreme Court’s decision, you will find that the case was between GTB and Innoson Nigeria Ltd and no other person.

"For emphasis, in a garnishee proceeding, once an order of garnishee nisi is made, the garnishee is required by law to set the amount involved aside and will not allow the judgment debtor to withdraw from it; and if the order is made absolute, the garnishee pays the money to the judgment creditor and incurs no liability for doing that but if the order is not made absolute the garnishee returns the money to the judgment debtor.

"In this case, the order was made absolute since 29th July 2011 and GTB held unto the money from that time and is using for its business. It follows that by the time the order was made absolute it was no more the judgment debtor’s money but rather that of Innoson Nigeria Ltd who is the judgment creditor; if a garnishee refuses to comply with the order, then, it becomes a judgment debtor, as GTB has become in the present case, against whom execution of the order will issue. Therefore, there is no merit or force in the GTB’s press statement.

"Furthermore and interestingly, the Garnishee order absolute was against GTB and no one else; and it is only GTB and no one else that will comply with the order; in the circumstance, the order will be executed against GTB and no one else. Please, be guided accordingly."
 

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