Innoson owner drags EFCC to court, demands N200bn for unlawful imprisonment, others

…Nigerian Army patronises company for military vehicles

The Chairman/Managing Director of the Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM), Chief Innocent Chukwuma, has dragged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to court, demanding N200 billion for unlawful imprisonment, malicious falsehood and defamation.

In a statement made available to newsmen through his spokesperson, Mr. Cornel Osigwe, the automobile manufacturer said the law suit was in response to his unlawful arrest and subsequent release by the EFCC fortnight ago.

The statement indicated that Chukwuma in the lawsuit which was filed at the Enugu State High Court by Prof Joseph N Mbadugha of McCarthy  Mbadugha and Co, is claiming against EFCC; N30 billion exemplary damages; N30 billion for assault and battery; N30 billion for unlawful imprisonment; N40 billion for injury to feelings-mental pains and anxiety arising from malicious falsehood and defamatory publications of the defendants against the plaintiffs; N50 billion for injury to plaintiff’s reputation arising from the said publications; N20 billion for general damages.

He also asked for an order that the published words complained of be retracted by the defendants and such retraction be published in two national newspapers including the Punch newspapers.

The IVM owner also asked the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant either by itself, agents, privies, and/or assigns from further maligning or otherwise defaming the plaintiffs in the words complained of or similar words and/or in other manner howsoever.

“An order that 22 per cent interest on the sums of money claimed in sub-paragraphs (a)-(f) commencing from December 20, 2017, till judgement is delivered and a post judgement interest of 22 per cent on the judgement sum till the final satisfaction of the judgement debt.

Furthermore, Innoson has set machinery in motion for a N50 billion suit against EFCC, GTBank and three others for breach of his fundamental rights.

The EFCC had claimed in a statement on its official website that the arrest of Chukwuma “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.” EFCC further alleged that “the industrialist used forged documents to secure tax waivers.”

Chukwuma had maintained that “at no time did Chukwuma (Innoson) receive an invitation or was invited by the EFCC or was there any time he jumped an administrative bail granted by the EFCC.

“Innoson is a public figure and a well-known industrialist of international repute. There is no way he would be invited by the EFCC and he would ignore or refuse to honour it.

“Innoson has never had any issue or query from the EFCC of recent. The last issue Innoson had with EFCC was an invitation extended to him in

2012 based on a complaint against him by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB). Innoson honoured this invitation and subsequently, EFCC filed a charge against him at the Lagos High Court.

“The charge was subsequently struck out. However, Innocent Chukwuma and Innoson Nigeria Limited appealed against the order striking it out on the basis that it ought to be dismissal and not striking out. The appeal no: CA/I/1330Cm/2017 is still pending at the court of appeal Lagos State. Since then, EFCC has never invited him.”

He said his ‘unlawful’ arrest and detention caused untoward injury and damages to his person, personality, reputation and loss of business interest from his prospective business partners amounting to millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, Nigerian Army yesterday formally went into partnership with Nigerian indigenous motor manufacturing company, Innoson Motors Manufacturing Company for modification of some of its equipment, local production of armoured fighting vehicles and other military hardware.

A statement by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani kukasheka Usman, said this was made manifest during a meeting between the management of the company let by the Chairman, Doctor Innocent Chukwuma and the leadership of the Nigerian Army led by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai, at the Army Headquarters, Abuja.

In his remarks, Buratai congratulated the company for giant strides it has recorded in the production of various brands of vehicles lately. He said that the essence of the meeting was to further formalise the business relationship between the Nigerian Army and Innoson Vehicle.

The army chief recalled with delight that the Nigerian Army being patriotic and in a bid to encourage local entrepreneurs asked Innoson Motors to supply three vehicles early last year which were found to be durable and performing very well as they were employed in combat and proved to be useful, comfortable and convenient in military operations.

Based on that, the army acquired over 70 more variants of the Innoson vehicles which were deployed in the North-east for Operation Lafiya Dole.

He further stated that the army desires to deepens its cooperation by partnering Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited to conceptualise, design, modify and produce military hardware.

The specific areas of partnership between the Nigerian Army and the company include immediate supply of 100 vehicles, supply of appropriate gears, engines and chassis required for immediate modifications and repairs of armoured fighting vehicles in the North-east Theatre of Operations. Identifying requirements for production of armoured fighting vehicle in Nigerian Army Central Workshop in Kaduna and enhancing capacity of Nigerian Army personnel to actively participate on the successful implementation of these joint ventures.

Responding, Doctor Innocent Chukwuma expressed happiness that the Nigerian Army has found his vehicles working perfectly and commended the Chief of Army Staff for his great sense of patriotism. He promised to assist the Nigerian Army in its quest for better vehicles for its troops and resuscitation of its Special Vehicle Plant and Workshops.

Chukwuma further thanked the army chief for the commendation, maintaining that his company would continue to improve and expand its capacity in vehicle manufacturing.

He further appreciated the Nigerian Army for the patronage, describing the critical role the Nigerian Army is playing in national development through the fight against insurgency in the North-east and Nigeria in general.

Highlight of the occasion was inspection and handing over of three of the newly manufactured vehicles by the company for trial by the Nigerian Army. These newly manufactured vehicles are; IVM G80 Bigger Jeep, IVM G40 Smaller Jeep and IVM Granite Pickup.

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