Chief Innocent Chukwuma has stated that the issuance of a bench warrant against him by the Federal High Court Ikoyi Lagos on June 24th 2019 was an abuse of process taken too far by the Court and made without jurisdiction.
According to him, the order itself is a nullity and does not have grounds on law.
In a press release made available by Cornel Osigwe, Head of Corporate Communications Innoson Group, the Chairman of Innoson maintained that there was no prima facie case against him in the first place.
He stated that the charge was based on trumped up action of Innoson Nigeria Ltd. which was a party originally to the charge but was discharged by the Court of Appeal.
In his words, “Secondly, there was no notice of trial served on me pursuant to the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
“The act provides that before the court should issue a bench warrant, there must be proof of service of the charge and the notice of trial on the person involved.
“But there is no notice of trial served on me and the question of whether I, Innocent Chukwuma has been served with the charge is still pending at the Supreme Court.
“More importantly, the charge is also an abuse because of earlier similar suit in relation to the charge pending at different Federal High Courts.
“Thirdly, The said CHARGE NO: FHC/L/565/2015 which is a trumped up was filed by the police in 2015 and was equally withdrawn by the same police through its notice of withdrawal dated 17th February, 2016 duly filed at the Federal High Court Registry Lagos”.
He revealed that GTB got the then Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to claim to have taken over the charge/case using the name of the Attorney General of the Federation after the Police had withdrawn the case.
“Interestingly, that DPP involvement in this matter and his complicities therein led to his removal as the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The argument on whether the Office of the Attorney General is empowered to take over a case that the Police have originally withdrawn is still going on at the Supreme Court”.
He made it known that the latest order was being orchestrated by Guaranty Trust Bank in order to force him negotiate with the bank from a weaker position.
It will be recalled that in a decision of 27th February 2019 in Appeal No:SC.694/2014 between Guaranty Trust Bank PLC v Innoson Nig Ltd, the Supreme Court dismissed GTB’s appeal against the Court of Appeal’s judgment which ordered GTB to pay the judgment debt which with accrued interest is as at today over N9Billion.
The Chairman of Innoson adviced the bank to quickly comply with the Supreme Court judgment and pay the over N9billion judgment debt.
“Failure to do so within the short period of grace that Innoson Nigeria Ltd granted to the bank will lead to the final execution of the Writ of Fifa against Guaranty Trust Bank”.
Chief Chukwuma hinted that he had appealed against the Order of Bench Warrant to the Court of Appeal and had also filed a Motion for Stay of Execution of the Order.