Innoson Group has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of telling lies against Innocent Chukwuma, its chief executive officer (CEO).
The commission arrested Chukwuma on Tuesday and later said he was picked up over his failure to honour previous invitations.
“His arrest followed his refusal to honour invitation by the commission having earlier jumped an administrative bail granted him in a case being investigated by the Capital Market and Insurance Fraud Unit of the commission’s Lagos office,” the EFCC had said.
But the company has denied the commission’s claim, saying Chukwuma was “never invited by the EFCC in recent time”.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Cornel Osigwe, head of corporate communications, Innoson Group, said Chukwuma “has never had any issues or query from the EFCC recently”.
Osigwe also asked the EFCC to show evidence that the industrialist was invited and he jumped an administrative bail granted to him, as the commission had claimed.
“We wish to deny EFFC’s claim categorically that Dr. Innocent Chukwuma (Innoson) was invited by the Commission or was there any time or that he jumped an administrative bail granted by the EFCC,” the statement read.
“Dr. Chukwuma (OFR) is a law-abiding citizen, a public figure and a well-known industrialist of international repute. There is no how he would be invited by the EFCC and he would ignore or refuse to honour the invitation.
“Dr. Chukwuma has never had any issues or query from the EFCC recently. The last issue he had with EFCC was an invitation extended to him in 2012 based on a complaint against him by Guaranty Trust Bank, GTB, which he duly honoured.
“Upon the completion of investigation, EFCC requested him through a letter, to pay some money to GTB, saying that the money is what Innoson owes GTB after it (EFCC) deducted excess charge of about N560m which GTB illegally and unlawfully took from their account.
“Innoson rejected the demand, maintaining that it was GTB that was owing and that GTB is to pay interest on the excess and unlawful charges. This resulted in a stalemate between Innoson and EFCC.”
Osigwe said Innoson subsequently filed a suit to challenge GTB and got a judgement in its favour.
“Consequently, Innoson commenced a lawsuit against GTB at Federal High Court in suit no: FHC/AWK/139/2012 at Federal High Court Awka division and thereat got a judgment in its favour in the sum of N4.7bn against GTB,” he said.
“As a consequence of the above, EFCC filed a charge against him at the Lagos High Court. The charge was subsequently struck out after EFCC filled a notice of discountenance.
“However, Dr. Innocent Chukwuma and Innoson Nigeria Ltd. appealed against the order striking out the case on the basis that it ought to be dismissed and not struck out.”
The company further said while the appeal with number CA/I/1330Cm/2017 is still pending at the court of appeal in Lagos till date, the EFCC “has never” invited Chukwuma again.
“We challenge EFCC to show proof and evidence of EFCC invitation extended to Dr. Chukwuma; the various dates of the invitation and the letter of invitation extended to him,” the statement read.
“We further challenge EFCC to also show proof of how and when Dr. Chukwuma jump an administrative bail granted to him.
“EFCC also claimed that Dr. Chukwuma is being investigated by the Capital Market and Insurance Fraud Unit of the Commission’s Lagos office.
“We also challenge EFCC to show proof of this investigation: On whose petition is this investigation being carried out and proof of any letter on this investigation ever written to Innoson from this unit, stating also the month and year.”
The company urged the anti-graft agency to allow the court to decide the case between Chukwuma and Guaranty Trust Bank
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