Awka, Nigeria: The Federal High Court, Awka Division on May 20th, 2019 refused to grant Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) prayers for orders staying or suspending the execution embarked by Innoson Nigeria Ltd; and to further set aside the Orders made by the court on 27th March 2019 granting Innoson Nigeria Ltd leave to enforce the judgment, issue processes for enforcing the judgment and levying execution- the Writ of Fifa against Guaranty Trust Bank.
Recall that the Federal High Court, Awka Division on March 27th, 2019 granted leave to Innoson Nigeria Ltd to enforce and execute the judgment and Garnishee Order Absolute made by the court coram Shakarho, J at the Ibadan Judicial Division on the 18th of May 2010 and the 29th of July 2011 respectively. This order was concurrently affirmed by the Court of Appeal in the judgment of 6th February 2014 and by the Supreme Court in its judgment of 27th February 2019.
As Innoson Nigeria Ltd commenced the tedious act of the execution, GTB rushed to the court vide its desperate motion on notice seeking orders staying or suspending the execution embarked by Innoson Nigeria Ltd and also seeking orders setting aside the exparte Orders made by the Court granting Innoson leave to enforce the judgment and to issue the processes of executing same.
The court further held that the order it made on March 27th, 2019 in favor of Innoson Nigeria Ltd granting it leave to enforce the judgment and issue processes of execution of the judgment are valid; and also that all the steps taken to levy executions in pursuance of that order are still valid and are not vacated; whilst all the prayers by GTB in its motion of 1st April 2019 are not granted.
However, the court stayed further proceedings- proceedings relating to contempt against GTB, its MD – Segun Agbaje, Chairman- Mrs Osaretin Demuren and Secretary – Mr Erhi Obebeduo- to enable the Supreme Court hear GTB’s newly filed motion at the Supreme Court in respect of the matter.
Subsequently, the matter was adjourned to 17th October 2019 for hearing of the pending applications – the contempt application.
It will be recalled that through a motion on notice dated April 24th 2019, Innoson Nigeria Ltd asked the court to commit GTB and its MD – Segun Agbaje, Chairman- Mrs Osaretin Demuren and Secretary – Mr Erhi Obebeduo for contempt of court for its acts of thuggery, extreme hooliganism and outright lawlessness in breaking into all the properties of GTB which have been distressed and seized by the Court bailiffs/sheriffs while executing a writ of fifa issued by the Court, undistressed them and as well released them from attachments and seizures.
EARLIER: Innoson Motors seals Guaranty Trust Bank to recover ₦8.8B debt
Innoson Motors said it would move to the headquarters of Guaranty Trust Bank in Lagos to effect the judgement of courts that awarded it an estimated ₦8.8 billion. The company’s spokesman Cornell Osigwe said this in an interview on Saturday.
Already, Innoson’s agents had sealed seven branches of the bank in Awka and Enugu and plans to take further action by sealing the head office of the top flight bank.
“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”, Osigwe said.
GTB Plc has claimed that the judgement Innoson is executing was not against it but a customer of the bank, Nigerian Customs and Excise Board.
In a statement, the bank’s secretary, Eric Obebeduo said the garnishee order in question arose from a judgment of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, Oyo State.
The bank said the order was not against it but a customer of the bank, Nigerian Customs and Excise Board.
“It is important to state that the Judgment allegedly in issue is in respect of Garnishee Proceedings against the account of the Nigerian Customs Services Board domiciled with the Bank and not against the Bank as an entity.
“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”, Obededuo said.
However, Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited said its action, the sealing of seven GTB offices in Awka and Enugu, followed a Supreme Court judgement that affirmed the earlier judgement by the high court and the appeal court in Ibadan.
Innoson in a statement on Friday claimed it obtained a court order to take control of GTB over indebtedness of N8.8 billion.
Osigwe 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 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,”
“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 thee 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 N2.4billion 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 ordered GTB 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,” Osigwe said.