Issuance of bench warrant against me is an abuse of process taken too far — Innoson

•Files notice of appeal, motion for stay of execution against order

Chairman of Innoson Motors, Mr Innocent Chukwuma, has said that the issuance of bench warrant against him by the Federal High Court Ikoyi Lagos, on Monday, is an abuse of process taken too far by the court and made without jurisdiction.

“The order itself is a nullity and does not have grounds on law,” he said.

He also informed that he has appealed against the Order of Bench Warrant to the Court of Appeal and has as well filled a Motion for Stay of Execution of the Order.

Reacting through a press release signed by Cornel Osigwe, the Head of Corporate Communications, Innoson Group, the Innosson Motors chairman, argued that: “Firstly, there is no prima facie case against me. The charge was based on suspected or trumped-up action of Innoson Nigeria Ltd and Innoson Nigeria Ltd was a party originally to the charge but was discharged by the Court of Appeal.

“Secondly, there was no notice of trial served on me pursuant to the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. The act provides that before the court should issue a bench warrant, there must be proof of service of the charge and the notice of trial on the person involved.

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“But there is no notice of trial served on me and the question of whether I, Innocent Chukwuma has been served with the charge is still pending at the Supreme Court. More importantly, the charge is also an abuse because of an earlier similar suit in relation to the charge pending at different Federal High Courts.

“Thirdly, The said CHARGE NO: FHC/L/565/2015  which is a trumped-up was filed by the police in 2015 and was equally withdrawn by the same police through its notice of withdrawal dated 17th February 2016 duly filed at the Federal High Court Registry Lagos.”

To back his claim, Chukwuma alleged that, “GTB characteristically got the then Director of Public Prosecution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (names withheld) to claim to have taken over the Charge/case using the name of the Attorney General of the Federation. This is after the Police have withdrawn the case.”

“Interestingly, that DPP involvement in this matter and his complicities therein led to his removal as the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He said: “The argument on whether the Office of the Attorney General is empowered to take over a case that the Police have originally withdrawn is still going on at the Supreme Court.

“The public should be aware that this latest order is being orchestrated by Guaranty Trust Bank in order to force me to negotiate with the bank from a weaker position.”

It will be recalled that in a decision of February 27, 2019 in Appeal No:SC.694/2014 between Guaranty Trust Bank PLC v Innoson Nig Ltd, the Supreme Court was said to have dismissed GTB’s appeal against the Court of Appeal’s judgment which ordered GTB to pay the judgment debt which with accrued interest is as at today over N9Billion.

Consequently, Chukwuma said in the release that: “I, therefore, advice the bank for the benefit of its shareholders to quickly comply with the Supreme Court judgment and pay the over N9 billion judgment debt. Failure to do so within the short period of grace that Innoson Nigeria Ltd granted to the bank will lead to the final execution of the Writ of Fifa against Guaranty Trust Bank.”