The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Innoson Nigeria Ltd., Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, has slammed a N200 billion suit on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at a High Court in Enugu over alleged malicious falsehood, defamation and unlawful imprisonment.
In a suit filed by Prof. Joseph N. Mbadugha of McCarthy Mbadugha & Co, the Innoson boss is seeking for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the anti-graft agency, its agents or privies from further maligning him.
He is also seeking a court’s order directing the commission to retract the published words complained of and publish same in two national dailies.
Besides, the businessman also wants the court to order payment of 22 per cent interest on the money being claimed from December 20, 2017 till judgement is delivered and a post-judgement interest of 22 per cent on the judgement sum till final liquidation.
A breakdown of the N200 billion being claimed by the Innoson boss showed that he is demanding N30 billion as exemplary damages; N30 billion for assault and battery; N30 billion for false imprisonment and N40 billion for injury to feelings – mental pains and anxiety arising from the malicious falsehood and or defamatory publications.
Besides, he is asking for N50 billion for injury to his reputation arising from the said publications as well as N20 billion for general damages.
The EFCC had claimed in a statement on its official website that the arrest of the Innoson boss on December 19, 2017, was sequel to “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.”
It was further claimed that “the industrialist used forged documents to secure tax waivers”.
EFCC later reportedly filed fraud charge against him and two others at a Lagos High Court.
However, in refuting the claims, Chukwuma argued that the anti-graft agency’s action was taken in bad faith to change the narrative in order to portray him in bad light and divert the attention of the public who have continued to condemn the illegal action taken by the commission.
The rebuttal was contained in a statement titled, “Re: EFCC files fraud charge against Innoson boss, Chukwuma”, signed by the Head of Corporate Communications, Innoson Group, Cornel Osigwe.
Osigwe alleged that the travail of the Innoson boss might not be unconnected with a grand conspiracy by a rival company to pull him down at all cost.
The statement further queries the rationale behind the allegations in the charge against the Innoson boss.
It was contended that GTB had no license to import motorcycle spare parts as alluded to by the EFCC in the charge when it claimed the items were the bank’s property.