By Adejuwon Osunnuyi
The Supreme on Thursday struck out an application by Guarantee Trust Bank(GTBank) asking for a stay of execution of the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Enugu which ordered the bank to pay N6 billion into an interest yielding account controlled by the court in it’s suit against Innoson Motors.
The conflict between the bank and the indigenous vehicle producing company was over a loan the bank gave to Innoson which turned awry.
While the bank claimed that the Innoson is owning, Innoson on the contrary claimed that it was the bank that owes it through illegal charges it deducted from its account.
Efforts to settle the dispute amicably proved abortive hence the resort to litigation.
A fresh twist was however added to the litigation in 2017 when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) stepped into the matter by charging Innoson Motors and its Chairman, Innocent Chukwuma before a Special Offences Court, Ikeja, Lagos, for forgery.
EFCC charges was based on a petition of GTBank claiming that Chukwuma forged documents of importation in its possession.
All efforts by EFCC to arraign Chukwuma for the crime proved abortive as the defendant filed applications notifying the court of the pending case before the Supreme Court.
His lawyers pleaded with the trial judge, Justice Mojisola Dada to rule one way or the other on their application but the judge insisted that Chukwuma must come before the court and take a plea, whether he is guilty or not on the charges preferred against him.
At the last adjourned date on May 24, 2018, Justice Dada ordered EFCC to declare Chukwuma wanted. Chukwuma on the same day accused the judge of embarrassing him.
Today, the Supreme Court struck out GTBank’s motion for stay of execution of the Enugu Court of Appeal Division’s order that GTBank pays over N6 billion into an interest yielding account at the Court of Appeal.
Innoson’s legal team which was led by Prof. McCarthy Mbadugha ESQ however told the Supreme Court that the Judgment debt which arose from excess and unlawful charges which GTB took from Innoson’s account now stood at over N14billion.
The Supreme Court decision follows GTBanks motion for stay of execution at the Supreme Court when the Court of Appeal Enugu Division ruled on 9th Dec, 2014 that the appellant (GTB) is hereby ordered to pay the sum of Five Billion, Nine Hundred and thirty Six Million, One Hundred and Twenty Six Thousand, Two Hundred and Nineteen Naira, One Kobo (N5,936,126,219.01k) to the Deputy Chief Register of the Court within 14 days from the date of ruling and which the Deputy Chief Register shall pay same into an interest yielding account in a reputable bank other than Diamond Bank or Mainstreet Bank Plc pending the determination of this appeal.
The money together with whatever accrues thereon shall be paid to the party who wins the appeal.
GTBank is expected to comply with the decision of the Apex Court within 14 days as specified by the Court of Appeal. It is not clear whether the bank will also have to pay accrued interest as specified by the appellate court.
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