This is a case that has generated so much euphoria among those who have seen the action of GTBank as a very wrong one.
There have been reports and counter reports concerning this case which has even reached the table of the EFCC. EFCC was at some point invited into the case by GTBank, and the agency has invited Chief Innocent Chukuma over for interrogation.
In the last case even GTBank denied the report from the Appeal court and called it media propaganda that has no weight.
The Republican News gathered from the social media account of the Innoson Vehicles a press release made available to the public.
Here is the press statement from Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing, IVM, company.
INNOSON TAKES OVER GTB OVER N8.7 Billion JUDGEMENT DEBT; AS SUPREME COURT DISMISS GTB’s APPEAL
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.
The Court of Appeal, Ibadan division had in its decision of 6th February 2014 dismissed GTB’s appeal against the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division. Thus, the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment of the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division which ordered GTB by way of Garnishee order absolute – to pay N2.4 Billion to Innoson with a 22% interest, per annum, on the judgment sum until the final liquidation of the judgment debt.
Rather than obey the judgment of the Court of Appeal, GTB approached the Supreme Court to challenge the Court of Appeal’s decision.
However in an ruling delivered by Honourable Olabode Rhodes-Vivour JSC on Wednesday, February 27th 2019, the Lord Justices of the Supreme Court (JSC) dismissed GTB’s appeal and thus affirmed the concurrent judgment of both the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division which ordered GTB by way of Garnishee order absolute – to pay N2.4 Billion to Innoson with a 22% interest, per annum, on the judgment until the final liquidation of the judgment. The Judgment debt of N2.4B has an accrued interest as at today of about N6,717,909,849.96 which results to about N8.8 Billion.
Based on the Supreme Court’s decision of 27th February 2019 the counsel to Innoson, Prof McCarthy Mbadugha ESQ, had approached the Federal High Court, Awka Division for leave to enforce the judgment having obtained Certificates of Judgment from the Ibadan Division of the Federal High Court.
Having obtained the requisite leave, the Federal High Court issued the necessary process for levying execution – the Writ of Fifa.
Head of Corporate Communications
This is now a very serious issue for the bank and one wonders why the bank has found it difficult to settle such debt.
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Shortly before Nigeria’s independence in 1960, Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, reportedly Nigeria’s first black billionaire, and founding president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. The royal honour came after he helped the British during World War II with his fleet of trucks. He was so wealthy that during the Queen’s visit in 1956, she was chauffeured around in his Rolls-Royce – apparently the only one in the country at the time – on the request of the colonial administration.
Profiled in September 1965 by TIME magazine, Ojukwu made his money by importing dried fish for resale and diversifying into textiles, cement and transport. When he died a year later, his wealth was an estimated $4 billion in today’s economic value.
His son, Chukwuemeka, who also ended up a billionaire, returned from Oxford University at 22 with a master’s degree in history and led his fellow Igbos into the Nigerian civil war as head of the secessionist state of Biafra in 1967.
Their hometown Nnewi, in the southeastern state of Anambra, either by good fortune or hard work, has bred more naira billionaires than any other town in Nigeria, and possibly Africa. The Igbos, who sometimes refer to themselves as the ‘Jews of Africa’, have entrepreneurship in their blood. They have built themselves from the ground up, with a little help from the government, after a controversial policy left them all with 20 pounds each, regardless of their bank balance, at the end of the Nigerian civil war in 1970.
Nicknamed the Japan of Africa, Nnewi is famous as a hub for automobile spare part dealers, and most recently, Innoson, Nigeria’s first indigenous car assembly plant. The town is also known for its factories that manufacture household goods and is home to the biggest road transport companies in the country. Nnewi, with a little over two million residents, is a 30-minute drive from the Onitsha – the biggest outdoor market in West Africa – on the banks of the Niger River.
These are 10 of the most prominent naira billionaires from Nnewi, in no particular order:
(1) Cletus Ibeto: The Ibeto Group has been described as the largest industrial enterprise in southeast Nigeria. Starting out as an apprentice to an already established auto spare parts dealer, Ibeto eventually branched out on his own and effectively ended the importation of lead acid car batteries in Nigeria in the late 80s. The result is a conglomerate dealing in hospitality, motor products, real estate, petrochemicals, agriculture and cement.
(2) Cosmas Maduka: One of the country’s foremost car dealerships, Coscharis Group, is the brainchild of a man who lost his father at four and had to drop out of school to sell bean cakes, a popular food staple. His company, one of the largest car dealerships in Nigeria that deals with BMW, Jaguar, Range Rover and Rolls-Royce, has diversified into agriculture.
(3) Innocent Chukwuma: Another school dropout, he is the founder of Innoson Nigeria Limited which produces sport utility vehicles, commercial buses and passenger cars at the first indigenous assembly plant in Nigeria. The company has factories in Nnewi and Enugu and has the governments of Anambra and Enugu states, as well as a few federal agencies, among its customers.
(4) Gabriel Chukwuma: The elder brother of Innoson, Gabriel is invested in sports, real estate and hospitality. As chairman of Gabros International Football Club, he oversaw its rise into the Nigerian Premier League and partnership with English side, West Ham FC before selling to fellow Nnewi entrepreneur, Ifeanyi Ubah. He began business as a patent medicine dealer.
(5) Alexander Chika Okafor: Chicason Industries, and one of its products – A-Z Petroleum, are household names in Nigeria. The conglomerate has made significant inroads in the mining, manufacturing, and real estate in Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Okafor, its founder and chairman, was named in 2011 by the Senate as one of the beneficiaries of the subsidy fraud under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, pocketing as much as N18 billion ($54 million).
(6) Augustine Ilodibe: An orphan and mass server in the Catholic church, young Ilodibe was gifted £35 by one of the priests and he initially invested in motor spare parts trading. By the sixties, he pioneered the interstate luxury bus transport service; for years, he was the sole importer of these buses. After helping organize vehicles for the Biafran side during the civil war, he established the hugely popular Ekene Dili Chukwu Transport, his main cash cow and later diversified into brewery and agriculture.
(7) Ifeanyi Ubah: The flamboyant businessman funded parts of the Goodluck Jonathan campaign ahead of the 2015 presidential polls and unsuccessfully ran for the governorship of his home state, Anambra, in 2014. His wealth comes from investments in oil and gas, as well as exportation of motor spare parts and, recently, from sales of football players. In June 2015, Ubah – described by one Nigerian newspaper as ‘the new sugar daddy of Nigerian football’ – completed the purchase of Gabros FC for N500 million and renamed it Ifeanyi Ubah FC.
(8) Louis Onwugbenu: The head honcho of Louis Carter Industries dropped out of school in 1967 when the Nigerian civil war broke out. He got his nickname from weekly trips to Lagos to sell motor spare parts under the popular Carter Bridge in the city. His reinvested profits allowed him to diversify into manufacturing car batteries and pipe fittings, agriculture, food processing, real estate and, by the age of 30, he was already a naira multi millionaire. The headquarters of his conglomerate sits in the Carter Industrial Estate, spanning many acres in Nnewi.
(9)Obiajulu Uzodike: Nigeria is one of the foremost cable producers in the world due to many indigenous manufacturers across the southeast. One of the top cable companies is Cutix Nigeria, whose founder, Obiajulu Uzodike, cut his teeth in the business as a staff at a US-based aircraft and military wires and accessories company. By 1982, the Harvard Business School alumni and civil war veteran set up Cutix with N400,000 ($1,200), nurturing it to eventually become the first indigenous firm in the southeast to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.