Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited said it had sealed seven branches of Guaranty Trust Bank, GTB to recover its N8.8 billion judgement debt.
This is even as the bank insisted that the court order on which Innoson claimed ro be acting did not authorise it to take over the bank but, rather, the account of the Nigerian Customs and Excise Board domiciled with the bank.
The spokesperson for Innoson Motors, Cornell Osigwe, who spoke in Nnewi, Anambra State, on Saturday, said the company had sealed seven GTB bank branches: one in Nnewi, two in Onitsha, two in Awka and two in neighbouring Enugu State. He said that the company would move to seal the GTB Head Office in Lagos next week.
According to him, Innoson will seal more of GTB bank branches nationwide to recover the N8.8 billion owed the motor company.
“We will seal more of their properties to recover our money and from next week, we shall move to GTB head office to enforce the judgement of courts. We will sell those properties to get our money back,” he said.
Innoson had said in a statement on Friday that it has obtained a court order to take control of GTBank over indebtedness of N8.8 billion.
However, GTB bank has refuted the claim, saying that the judgment was against the account of the Nigerian Customs and Excise Board domiciled with GTBank, and not against GTBank as an entity.
Cornel Osigwe had in a statement said the company has obtained a writ of Fi Fa from the Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State, against Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) to take over the bank’s properties.
According to Osigwe, Innoson Chairman, Innocent Chukwuma, has been mandated by federal high court sitting in Awka, Anambra state to “take over” the bank after the Supreme Court dismissed GTB’s appeal against the judgement of the appeal court in Ibadan.
The statement reads in part: “The Chairman of Innoson Group, Chief Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, OFR hast through a Writ of Fi Fa 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.”
The statement further added: “In a landmark decision on February 27th 2019, the Supreme Court of Nigeria had dismissed GTB’s appeal in a suit number 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 percent interest per annum, on the judgments until the final liquidation of the debt.
Rather than obey the judgment of the Court of Appeal, GTB approached the Supreme Court to challenge the Court of Appeal’s decision.”
The company also said that in a ruling delivered by Supreme Court, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour dismissed GTB’s appeal and affirmed the concurrent judgment of both the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division.
According to the ruling, court had, ordered GTB by to pay N2.4 billion to Innoson with a 22 percent interest, per annum, on the judgment until the final liquidation of the judgment.
“The Judgment debt of N2.4bn has accrued an interest of about N6,717,909,849.96 today, 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, 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,” it said.
In response to the judgement, Erhi Obebeduo, company secretary of the bank, said: “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 Judgment of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, Oyo State. at one of its branches in Anambra State.
“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 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.”
What is a Writ of FiFa?
A Writ of Fieri Facias is a legal instrument issued after a judgement and it is used to seize the assets of a judgment debtor till the debt in question is settled.
Usually, only the debtor’s property that can satisfy the judgment is held.
In the case of Guaranty Trust Bank, which has assets in trillions, only aportion of assets identified by the court would be held.