Embattled billionaire business and Chairman of Innoson Motors, Innocent Chukwuma, has been dragged to court by anti-graft agency, EFCC, filed fraud charges against him at the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja.
Also dragged into the lawsuit is Mr. Chukwuma’s brother, Charles. The four-count charge against Mr. Chukwuma who was arrested last week and released a day later, is dated November 30, and filed at the High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja Division.
In a letter by the Head of Legal and Prosecution for the EFCC, A.B.C. Ozioko, dated November 30, the commission noted that the four charges were bordering on conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense, obtaining property by false pretense, stealing and forgery.
The other defendants in the case are Innoson Nigeria Limited and Charles Chukwuma.
This comes days after the EFCC released Mr Innocent Chukwuma, following his arrest by the commission at his Enugu residence.
The spokesman for the anti-graft agency, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, said Mr Chukwuma was arrested following his refusal to respond to earlier invitations by the commission.
He said the businessman who runs a local auto assembly plant was initially granted administrative bail by the commission while his surety could also not be found.
“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,” a statement by Mr Uwujaren, read.
The arrest, however, sparked criticism and attracted the attention of the Senate which mandated its Committee on Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption to investigate the actions of the EFCC.
Read Also: EFCC Releases Innoson Boss, Innocent Chukwuma
Although he was released a day after he was arrested, the Innoson Group disagreed with the anti-graft agency and faulted the allegations levelled against its CEO.
In a statement signed by its Head of Corporate Communications, Cornel Osigwe, the group said Chukwuma never ignored invitations extended to him by the commission, neither did he mobilised thugs to manhandle any EFCC official.
“Chukwuma is a law-abiding citizen; 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.
“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 the invitation extended to him,”
The anti-graft agency claims that Innocent Chukwuma and Charles Chukwuma, “with intent to defraud induced the staff of Mitsui O.S.K and Maersk Line Limited to deliver”, to them through their clearing agents, the motor cycle spare parts, moulds of spare parts and steel structures and raw materials called polyvinlchlorid, imported from China.
The charge said the accused falsely pretended that they were authorised by GTB to clear the goods and take delivery of them. EFCC had on Tuesday arrested Innoson in Enugu, stirring some controversy that the arrest bore some ethnic motive and that the agency should not have waded into a dispute between GTB and the businessman.
Central to this was the story was that the parties were engaged in a dispute over illegal deductions from Innoson’s accounts by the GTB, with Innoson claiming that the bank was indebted to him and his company to the tune of billions of naira. In press and TV interviews, he said he had gotten judgement at both lower and appelate courts and that the GTB has an appeal at the Supreme Court.
Here is the court paper below