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EFCC Vows To Arrest Innoson Chief, Chukwuma |The Republican News

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has vowed to arrest the Chairman, Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited, Innocent Chukwuma, in order to face fraud charges in court.

The EFCC spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, said this in a statement on Wednesday shortly after Justice Olusola Williams of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, struck out the case of fraud it instituted against Chukwuma.

The court struck out the case after the anti-graft agency failed to produce Chukwuma in court to face trial.

Chukwuma and his company, Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited, were to be arraigned on four counts of conspiracy to obtain by false pretences, obtaining by false pretences, stealing and forgery.

The defendants allegedly committed the offences between 2009 and July 2011 in Lagos.

The defendants were alleged to have conspired to obtain, by false pretences, containers of motorcycles, spare parts and raw materials, the property of Guaranty Trust Bank, from Mitsui OSK Lines Limited, Apapa, Lagos.

They were also alleged to have fraudulently induced staff of Mitsui OSK and Maersk Line to deliver to them, via their clearing agents, the goods that were imported from China in the name of GTB by pretending that they were authorised by the bank to clear the goods.

The defendants were said to have forged a bill of lading numbered 598286020 of Maersk Line Limited and 11007950841 of Mussui O.S.K. Line by knowingly putting a false GTB stamp and signature of the bank employee.

However, since the suit was instituted, first before Justice Mojisola Dada of the same court, the defendant had refused to appear in court to face his trial.

In a short ruling on Wednesday, Justice Williams held that it was the responsibility of the EFCC to produce him in court.

“This court is not an investigator or a prosecutor. This court cannot waste precious judicial time prosecuting a matter that is going nowhere.

“This is a criminal matter that can be instituted anytime the prosecution is ready.  The court hereby strikes out the matter,” the judge held.  (Punch)

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Court Cases Hampering Our Operations, Says Innoson Motors |The Republican News

By Wale Elegbede

Innoson-boss-Innocent-Chukwuma

The Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company (IVM) has said that litigations against the company and its management are hampering its plans to upgrade from manual to automated production.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, the company’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Cornel Osigwe, said the recent suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at a Lagos High Court is distracting its upgrade from 10,000 cars production capacity annually to 60,000.

Osigwe, who explained the reason for the absence of Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman of IVM, from the court, said workers of the company are in fear of being harassed.

Justice Mojisola Dada of the Ikeja Special Offences Court had, last week, declared Chukwuma wanted for failing to appear before the court for an arraignment over a four-count charge of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretence, obtaining property by false pretences, stealing and forgery preferred against him by the EFCC.

Osigwe said: “Innoson is contesting that the Lagos High court has no jurisdiction to entertain the suit and not afraid of arraignment or running away from the court. He is saying that he must be arraigned through due process of the law.

“There has been an advertorial by the EFFC declaring Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman of IVM wanted. That publication has maligned his image and reputation as well as put him in a bad light as somebody who is a criminal. This is not so.

“The fact of the matter is that there has been an abuse of court process by the EFCC over a business disagreement between IVM and Guarantee Trust Bank, which started in 2013.

“This same case instituted by the EFCC is still pending at the Federal High Court, Lagos and at the Court of Appeal, Lagos.

“Recently, the same EFCC filed a fresh charge of the same case and allegation at the Lagos High Court. This is clearly an abuse of court process by the EFCC.”

While stating that the IVM chairman is a law-abiding citizen of Nigeria, Osigwe said Innoson is an entrepreneur whose story and growth replicates the die-hard spirit of Nigerians to make things happen regardless of the challenges.  (New Telegraph)

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Ohanaeze Denounces EFCC’s Charges Against Innoson Motors Boss, Chukwuma |RN

Nnia-Nwodo-Ohanaeze

Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Tuesday in Enugu expressed dismay at the court action instituted against the Chairman of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM), Chief Innocent Chukwuma by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The organisation said the court action in which Chukwuma is being charged, for obtaining customs documents through fraudulent means was diversionary and intended to persecute the automobile manufacturer.

In a statement by the Special Adviser to the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emeka Attamah, the apex Igbo organisation insisted that the action was yet another attempt at hounding another son of Igboland.

Related: Court Issues Bench Warrant Against Innoson Motors Boss, Chief Chukwuma |RN

“Cognisant of the matter in court and without any pretense to the veracity of the case or otherwise, Ohanaeze Ndigbo views the current travails of Chukwuma as yet another attempt at hounding another son of Igboland who, out of personal enterprise and dint of hard work, has helped in shaping the economic and industrial fortunes of Nigeria.

“Ohanaeze frowns at this recent attempt to obfuscate the clear court victory won by Innoson’s Group in a crucial suit against a leading bank in the country,” Attamah noted.

The organisation said the current twist in the whole affair was a deliberate attempt to put Chukwuma on the defensive in a matter that clearly vindicates him and confers a lot of financial advantage on him and taint his reputation by introducing a criminal angle to an already settled civil proceeding.

Related: The Innoson Affair, The Igbo And The Orphans Of The Corporate World – Fani-Kayode |RN

“Ohanaeze is carefully studying this discriminatory treatment of his adversaries and the law enforcement agents with a view to reviewing the patronage of our people to any economic establishment found to be associated in this new criminal assault of Chukwuma.

“We will no longer be prepared to do business with any organization that denigrates the best of our people,” the organisation stated. (ThisDay)

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Court Issues Bench Warrant Against Innoson Motors Boss, Chief Chukwuma |RN

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                 CEO Innoson Motor Manufacturing IVM, Innocent Chukwuma

An Ikeja Special Offences Court has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Mr Innocent Chukwuma, alias Innoson, the Chairman of Innoson Motors Nigeria Ltd.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Justice Mojisola Dada issued the bench warrant following the failure of the defendant to appear in court for the second time for arraignment on criminal charges filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

READ ALSO: Herdsmen To Pay For Grazing Reserves, State, Community Police Will End Killings – VP Osibanjo

“A bench warrant is hereby served on Innocent Chukwuma, he will remain in custody till the next adjourned date.

“The case is adjourned till March 14 for possible arraignment,” Justice Dada said.

Earlier, during the proceedings, a mild drama ensued in the courtroom, with Justice Dada threatening to charge Prof. J. N Mbadugha, the defence counsel for Innoson and Innoson Motors Ltd, for contempt of court.

Charles Chukwuma, a third defendant who was not present in court, had no legal representation.

Related: The Innoson Affair, The Igbo And The Orphans Of The Corporate World – Fani-Kayode |RN

Justice Dada issued the threat against Mbadugha following his alleged disrespectful conduct and outburst against the court in his opening address.

Mbadugha in his address had shouted: “This proceeding is a clear abuse of court processes, the EFCC is a reckless arbiter.

“My Lord has refused to be bound by the rule of law and doesn’t want to be bound by the doctrine of Stare Decisis; my Lord wants to override the decision of the Supreme Court.”

Justice Dada, in response, said: “Your whole comportment, conduct, countenance smacks of disrespect to the court and rule of law, I will report you to the Nigerian Bar Association.

“You are insulting the court, this is clear contempt in the face of the court; you will go to prison from here, if you think the court is defenceless and powerless, you’d be surprised.”

Related: Why We Arrested Innoson Group Boss, Innocent Chukwuma – EFCC |RN

Mbadugha, who initially said he was ready to be charged for contempt, later tendered an apology to the court, saying: “I am sorry My Lord, I hope the court gives me a second opportunity.

“I want to urge the court to temper justice with mercy; to err is human, but to forgive is divine.”

The defence counsel apologised to the court saying he had withdrawn his earlier statements.

NAN

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GTBank In Disarray As Massive Withdrawal, Closing Of Accounts By Igbo, Others Gather Momentum

By Ike A. Offor

They wished they never got involved in Innoson group boss, Innocent Chukwuma with EFCC saga. But it is a move that badly got the them burnt. Guaranty Trust Bank has exposed its bad customer service delivery deficiencies to the public.

Since the news of arrest of Innoson Motors in a case involving the bank, its reputation has been badly marred by more stories of frivolous charges on their customers apart from the one done to Chief Innocent Chukwuma.

Related: GT Bank In Desperate Move To Stop Aggrieved Customers From Closing Bank Accounts |RN

The move to close accounts in GTBank has just gathered momentum and many are now determined to follow those who have done so in the last three days. The chances of this easing or frayed nerves of customers, mainly Igbo one calming, is very remote.

Though Nigerians are very sensitive about tribal issues, this has touched the very man the Igbo love most due to the fact that he is a shinning example of bringing businesses home, something the Igbo have been crying for in the last few years.

GTBank has erred against the very people who kept it in business. Other banks will learn a lesson or two in this saga. Do not mess with your customers because they are the very reason you have business in the first place.

This gathering momentum, if not checked, would take GTBank to bankruptcy. Above all, they have suffered a very terrible customer service backlash. Their reputation now in customer service delivery has been exposed to a very  limelight.

Like many have said, this is not about Igbo versus GTBank issue but the bank versus customer service stunt gone badly wrong.

Many non-Igbo also closed their accounts and some are extremely rich business men as was mentioned by Femi Fani-Kayode in his article titled “The Innoson affair, the Igbo and orphans of the corporate  world”

Related: The Innoson Affair, The Igbo And The Orphans Of The Corporate World – Fani-Kayode |RN

Many have complained in the past about how GTBank withdraw their money at will and never return them.

Some of these aggrieved customers are the first to find reason to close their account since this incident with Chief Innocent Chukwuma took place.

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GT Bank In Desperate Move To Stop Aggrieved Customers From Closing Bank Accounts |RN

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Aggrieved GTBank custmoers waiting to close their bank accounts

The news source has it that Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) on Thursday put up desperate moves to calm customers who were aggrieved over the arrest of Innoson Motors’ boss, Innocent Chukwuma, from closing their accounts.

Many aggrieved customers of bank stormed the branches of the bank in Abuja requesting their bank accounts be closed.

Many others were seen transferring their deposits to other banks.

But the banks requested some aggrieved customers to officially write and wait for the bank’s response while the bank’s staff were seen speaking one-on-one with others.

Some who requested for fund transfers were told that the “network was down.”

Speaking with some of the customers, they blamed GTbank over the arrest of Chukwuma by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission.

Independent News correspondent who visited many of the branches following threats of closing their accounts on social media saw long queues.

The customers were told at the Customer Service Section of the bank to apply to their account officers and wait for response while those wanting to make inter-bank transfers were told to either wait or come back the next day.

A miffed customer in one of the branches engaged one of the Customer Relation Officers (CRO) on a heated debate asking why he should apply.

“Why should I apply?” he asked in a loud voice with support from other customers who were queuing to make the same application.

“It’s my account so I want it close now, now! And don’t send me any alert again after today,” he boomed.

When approached why he was ending his relationship with the bank, John, as he could only identify himself said, “The bank owes Innoson billions of Naira, but they are using EFCC against him.

“They don’t want to pay, that is fraud. They are committing fraud and using government against Innoson. We won’t allow that.”

One of the CROs when approached said, they are just doing this out of anger adding, “They might regret it later.

“It’s not their problem; it’s an issue that would be resolved in the court of law. I wonder why they are angry,” she said hiding the name tag on her chest.”

At the Wuse 2 branch, the queue extended outside with the security finding it difficult to control the crowd.

One of the customers who spoke in Pidgin English said, “Any person who wants to bring down Innoson would go down first.

“I am here to show solidarity with my brother, Innocent Chukwuma. GTbank will fail.

“Innoson has won the bank in many court cases so they want to use EFCC so that he will forget his money. That won’t work,” he thundered.

Another customer who volunteered to speak said he had transferred millions to another bank. He also said the wife who had travelled would do same as they were ready to move their domiciliary accounts as well.

Inside the banking hall, the aggrieved customers were seen chatting and discussing the Innoson case with the bank and why EFCC was involved.

When Independent News correspondent approached a middle-aged man said to be the branch manager, he declined to comment, urging the news man to write an official letter to Lagos.

Innoson Group has been engaged in serious court cases with GTbank. It accused the bank of being indebted to the auto manufacturing company to the tune of N8.5 billion in a series of damages stemming from illegal service deductions by the bank. An initial fraud case brought against Mr. Chukwuma was withdrawn earlier this year.  (Infobytes)

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The Innoson Affair, The Igbo And The Orphans Of The Corporate World – Fani-Kayode |RN

Femi-Fani-Kayode3 (2)

By Femi Fani-Kayode

Such was his shock and anger at the turn of events that the real estate magnate and owner of the resplendent, opulent and stunningly beautiful ‘Amen Estate’ on the outskirts of Lekki in Lagos, Babatunde O. Gbadamosi, wrote the following:

“I have studied the case. I am going to withdraw ALL my funds from Guaranty Trust Bank tomorrow morning”.

The basis of his angst and consternation was the plight of the propietor of Innoson Motors at the hands of Guaranty Trust Bank, the EFCC and the Buhari administration.

Babatunde’s disgust and repugnance at the way in which the bank and the EFCC behaved accurately reflects the mood and sentiment of millions of Nigerians on this matter.

Yet in my view the matter goes much further and deeper than just GTB and the EFCC.

They are simply willing puppets, tiny minions and minor players in a much bigger game and a much wider picture.

Permit me to cross the “t”s, dot the “i”s, consider the background and look at the facts.

In the last one year alone no less than three prominent Igbo businessmen have been arrested, humiliated and detained by the Buhari administration.

All three are major employers of labour who fared extreemly well under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and whose companies have become household names.

The first is Cletus Ibeto of Ibeto Cement, a humble, charming, hard-working, low-profile and exceptionally profound and insightful man who I met when I was in detention last year.

The second is the ebullient, young and vocal Ifeanyi Uba of Capital Oil and Gas, who later joined politics and who was indeed a member of President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign organisation in 2015 where we worked closely together.

The third is Innocent Chukwuma, the owner of Innoson Motors whose company is the only one in Nigeria that produces cars, who I am told is an absolute gentleman and whom I have never met.

These three men are amongst the five biggest and most prominent Igbo businessmen in the country today. The remaining two are Arthur Eze of Atlas Oronto Petroleum International and Emeka Offor of Chrome Oil both of whom have done very well but that have also had their own fair share of persecution and travails over the years.

I made a point of doing the research in the cases of Chukwuma, Ibeto and Uba and why they were having issues with the EFCC and the SSS respectively and I came to the conclusion that not only had they done nothing wrong but they were being targetted simply because they were perceived as being “Jonathan men”, because they were deemed as being sympathetic to the PDP, because they were Igbo and finally simply out of envy from ruthless competitors.

Given that it came as no surprise to me when, just yesterday morning, I was informed that Chukwuma’s home was raided and tear-gassed by the EFCC and he was arrested and detained in what can only be described as brutal and questionable circumstances.

I was reliably informed that officers of the EFCC and the Nigerian Police not only injured many in his home but that they also slapped his wife.

Never mind that he was later reportedly offered bail after what can only be described as a gruelling and harrowing period of torment and trauma: the fact is that his home should never have been raided and he should never have been arrested, detained and subjected to this brutal affront and indecorious indignity in the first place.

Such was my concern for him and the way in which the security forces had behaved at his home that I was constrained to post the following on both my twitter handle and Facebook page on that same day. I asked,

“Why should anybody be surprised about the arrest of the owner of Innoson Motors? They did the same to Cletus Ibeto about a year ago.These people come from the “wrong” part of the country and they are providing a service and employment for Nigerians. They must be punished for it!”.

I went further by offering some gentle and wise counsel to an old and dear friend by also posting the following:

“I have known the MD of GTB, Segun Agbaje and his two older brothers, Femi and Jimi, for close to 40 years and I have immense respect and deep affection for them. I urge him not to expose himself to the shark infested waters of politics by allowing himself to be used by these barbarians to destroy Innoson. If he does he will regret it”.

Yet it does not stop there. The matter goes much deeper and further than just the travails of Innocent Chukwuma of Innoson Motors or indeed those of Cletus Ibeto and Ifeanyi Uba.

It goes to the very heart and foundation of the fundamental problem of what Nigeria has been turned into by those who believe that they own her.

It touches on the nationality question, the quest and struggle for equal rights and opportunities for the various ethnic naionalities that make up Nigeria and the unofficial and unannounced policy of the Buhari administration to treat southerners as slaves and to discredit, crush and malign any Igbo person who aspires to excellence and greatness and who is a source of pride and inspiration to their people.

To those that doubt this grave assertion I have one question to ask: can they, under ANY circumstances, imagine or envisage Aliko Dangote of the Dangote Group or Abdul Samad Rabiu of the BUA Group , both of whom are highly successful, extreemly wealthy and very well-known northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani businessmen, being treated in this way by ANY Nigerian government let alone one like Buhari’s that was established by the Fulani and solely for the interests of the Fulani? The answer to the question is a resounding “no”.

Yet for the southern businessman and particularly for the Igbo one the rules are very different and the treatment that they get from the government and its security agencies are a world apart.

As a matter of fact they are unfairly deemed and insidiously labelled as the “fatherless ones” and the “orphans of the corporate world” simply because they are on their own and they have no favour or protection from government.

It is clear that any Igbo man that has the temerity and the fortitude to shine and to rise up by dint of conviction, vision, passion and hard work must be humiliated, demonised and denigrated.

The story and the theme appears to be a never-ending one and it touches on all spheres of human endeavour in Nigeria. The policy, principle and practice is the same: as long as you are Igbo you are in trouble and in order to survive you must sing the praises of the Buhari administration, bow and grovel to the Fulani, accept your servitude and slavery with stoic ignomy and “bend the knee”.

In the field of the struggle for self-determination and the quest for the establishment of the independent and sovereign state of Biafra the powers that be did it to the great Nnamdi Kanu, to his IPOB and to MASSOB.

In the field of business they have done it to the Chukwumas, the Ubas and the Ibetos of this world.

In the field of partisan politics they have done it to countless Igbo elders and leaders who have refused to bow to the Fulani hegemony that the Buhari administration represents.

In the field of the Armed Forces, the Nigerian Police Force and the various security and intelligence agencies they have done it as countless Igbo career officers have either been denied promotion and operational command or they have been prematurely retired.
Yet all this pales before the fact that thousands of young Igbo men and women have been secretly slaughtered, have been subjected to mass murder and genocide and have been buried in mass graves by agents of the Buhari government and security forces over the last two years and six months.

I have written about this over and over again simply because I believe that an attack on the Igbo is an attack on the whole of the south and is indeed an attack on humanity and all right-thinking people.

It is also an attack on the Christian faith of which I am a member because virtually every single one of the 50 million Igbos in Nigeria are Christians whilst those that are waging this unofficial and undeclared war against them are predominantly Muslims.

That is why the meeting between the Igbo and the Yoruba leaders slated for Jaunuary 11th in Enugu, under the auspices of Nzuko Umunna and which will be attended by the Obi of Onitsha, the Ooni of Ife, Afenifere, Ohanaeze and all the key Igbo and Yoruba leaders, intelligensia and politicians from all sides of the political divide is so crucial.

The Igbo and the Yoruba must set aside our dfferences, look at these matters, speak the bitter truth, come together and agree on how to move forward and protect our collective interest.

Whichever way it goes and whatever happens the matter shall come to an expected end because the God of Heaven will not sit by idly and allow this injustice and wickedness to go on for much longer.

I say this because the blood of the innocent cries to Him in heaven for vengeance and sooner or later He will hear their cry and both deliverance and judgement shall come.

In the meantime when I heard about the injustice that Innoson and his family had been subjected to I wrote the following words which came to my spirit and which burn in my soul right up until this very moment.

It is a heart-felt and powerful lamentation and it reflects the way virtually every right-thinking and sensitive southerner feels and thinks today about what is happening in Nigeria even though they may be too scared to voice it.

“O Igbo what have you done to the sons of Futa Jalon? Why do the heathans rant and rage? Why do the cow-loving aliens and foreign invaders seek to subjugate you and wipe you off the face of the earth?

In silent whispers they claim that they have cursed you, that you are not fit to rule or lead and that they hate you with a perfect hatred. Yet in 1966 you saw all this coming.

You warned us about what would happen and you tried to do something about it. Sadly we would not listen and we laughed you to scorn. You saw what we never saw. You knew what we never knew.

You suffered what we never suffered and you shed the tears that we never shed. 51 years later nothing has changed. They still kill you and rape your women. Only now they have widened the circle and it is no longer just you.

They have enslaved the rest of us as well. They kill us too and rape our women. Those of us from the South West, South South and the Middle Belt that joined forces with them to kill you and starve your children to death have now been turned into their slaves and serfs.

They kill us too and rape our women as well. They also take our land, shame our children and hate and denigrate our faith.

Yet we look on sheepishly and helplessly all in the name of keeping the peace and political correctness: we accept our pitiable plight and we suffer in silence.

The Bible asks, “what can flesh do to me?”, yet we ignore this divine injunction and holy scripture and bow our heads in trepidation and shame.

Our men have become women and we mask our accursed fear of death, destruction and incarceration and our inexplicable awe of our collective oppressors with a shameful and cowardly smile.

We readily accept every shame, every insult, every indignity and every act of savagery, brutality, barbarity and callousness that they inflict on us all for the sake of an illusionary, ephemeral, undefined and far-fetched concept known as “one Nigeria” which bears false and delusionary pretentions and claims of nationality and nationhood.

We even thank our collective oppressors and captors and we rejoice with them when they denigrate our faith and when they slaughter our children and our beloved in the fields and in the streets.

O Southern Nigeria: who has bewitched you? Cowardice is thy name.”

May God deliver us!

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