Innoson Motors boss, Innocent Chukwuma has reacted to reports that he has been declared wanted by a Lagos court.
On Thursday, May 24, 2018, Justice Mojisola Dada of the special offences court sitting in Lagos declared Chukwuma wanted over his failure to make an appearance in court for his arraignment for the fifth time.
You will recall that Justice Dada issued a bench warrant for Chukwuma's arrest because he failed to appear in court twice for arraignment on criminal charges filed against him by the EFCC in February 2018.
Judges wants to embarrass me
Speaking in a statement issued by Innoson’s spokesman, Cornel Osigwe, Chukwuma said that the Judge acted in bad faith.
He also said that the declaration is aimed at embarrassing his personality, defaming him and maligning his character.
“Declaring me wanted was done in bad faith and is simply to embarrass my personality, defame me and malign my character aimed to distract me from my daily activities in ensuring that Innoson Vehicles continues to produce durable made in Nigeria vehicles,” Chukwuma added.
According to the statement, Chukwuma alleged that the trumped up charges against him was instigated by Guaranty Trust Bank.
He said he is not afraid of arraignment, adding that it must be done following the due process of the law.
“Finally I want to expressly state that I am not afraid of arraignment but must be arraigned through the due process of the law. This Trumped Up Charge against me is being instigated by Guaranty Trust Bank, who as at today is indebted to me above N22 Billion Naira, but I know Justice will prevail at the end of the day.
“Meanwhile, I have also appealed against the order declaring me wanted and as well filed a motion for the stay of its execution,” he added.
Part of the statement reads: “I have been briefed by my lawyers that Justice Mojisola Dada of Lagos State High Court Ikeja granted the oral plea of counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to declare me wanted because of my failure to appear before the court today. I have expressly stated before that I am not afraid of arraignment but must be arraigned through due process of the law.
“It must be noted that I, through my legal counsel, challenged the jurisdiction of the Lagos State High Court to hear the forgery charge filed against me by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on ground of, inter alia, the charge being an abuse of process.
“I filed an application before the court that this present charge is an abuse of process because a similar charge on the same subject matter, transactions and issues is ongoing at the Federal High Court Lagos Division between the same parties, in charge no FHC/l/565c/2015. The last hearing of the charge at the Federal High Court was this week, May 22nd 2018.
“Furthermore, my legal counsel had at the last court hearing on April 25th 2018 notified the court that I had challenged the Jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division and that the prosecuting counsels which are the EFCC has equally filed their brief at the Appellate Court. The judge subsequently adjourned the hearing to today, May 24th 2018.
“At the court hearing today, my defense team, also, notified the judge that both parties have filed and exchanged their briefs at the Court of Appeal and a date has been fixed for hearing of the substantive appeal and prayed the Honourable Judge to defer to the Court of Appeal to decide the appeal which is on the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.
“Again, my legal team notified the trial court that I had appealed against the order of bench warrant of 9th February 2018 to the Court of Appeal and as well filed a motion for stay of execution of the order of bench warrant.
“However, the judge failed to grant the prayers of my legal counsel and quickly granted the plea of the prosecuting counsel to declare me wanted without recourse to due process of the law or listen to the submissions of my counsel on why an order declaring me wanted should not be made.”
The Nigerian Army has however entered a partnership with Innoson Motors for the modification of its equipment and local production of armored fighting vehicles.