CEO and Chairman of Nigeria's first indigenous automobile company, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, OFR, and Innoson Nig Ltd. have filed a fresh lawsuit against Guaranty Trust Bank PLC in the High Court of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja claiming a total sum of 400 billion Naira damages for injury to their reputation, moral character, credibility, office, vocation and trade. They also seek for an order of perpetual injunction restraining GT Bank from further defaming them.
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The lawsuit which was filed by Innocent Chukwuma’s counsel, Prof Joseph N Mbadugha Esq, is sequel to a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in favour of Innoson Nigeria Ltd. in Appeal No: SC/694/2014 between GTB v. Innoson Nig Ltd. There, on 12th May 2017, the Supreme Court dismissed GT Bank’s Application.
It must be noted that Innoson Nigeria Ltd had won various lawsuits against GT Bank. On 29th July 2011, the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division, through a garnishee order absolute ordered the Defendants (GT Bank) to pay the sum of N2,048,737,443.6K ( Two Billion, Forty Eight Million, Seven Hundred and Thirty Seven Thousand, Four Hundred and Forty Three Naira, Sixty Seven Kobo) to Innoson Nigeria Ltd.
GTBank however appealed against the judgment to the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division. In a unanimous judgment, delivered on 6th February 2014, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, affirmed the judgment of the trial Court and ordered the Defendant (GT Bank) to pay the said sum of N2, 048,737,443.6K (Two Billion, Forty Eight Million, Seven Hundred and Thirty Seven Thousand, Four Hundred and Forty Three Naira, Sixty Seven Kobo) to Innoson Nigeria Ltd.
Still aggrieved, the Defendant (GT Bank) appealed to the Supreme Court on 11 Grounds. Subsequently, GT Bank sought to amend its notice of appeal- to adduce Fresh Evidence- to show that Innoson Nigeria Ltd obtained the judgment of the Court of Appeal by fraud and fraudulent suppression of material facts.
GT Bank had through its motion on notice in Appeal No: SC/694/2014 dated the 22nd of January 2016 and filed at the Supreme Court on the 5th of February 2016, with a 15 paragraph affidavit in support averred that Innoson Nigeria Ltd obtained the Court of Appeal Judgment against GT Bank in Appeal No CA/I/258/2011 by fraud.
Similarly, at paragraphs 9 and 10 of the affidavit in support of the said motion on notice deposed to by Sarah Ugamah on behalf of GT Bank, GT Bank said that Innoson Nigeria Ltd fraudulently suppressed that it was paid the sum of N1, 406,515,845.98 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Six Million, Five Hundred and Fifteen Thousand, Eight Hundred and Forty-Five naira, Ninety-Eight Kobo) in liquidation of the judgment debt.
However in a unanimous decision, on 12th May 2017, the Supreme Court dismissed the GT Bank’s said motion on notice; and while dismissing the motion, Supreme Court stated, inter alia, that GT Bank engaged in double speaking and in a frivolous frolic in bringing the application.
In the fresh suit Innoson Nigeria Ltd and Chief Innocent Chukwuma maintained that the words published by GT Bank –that it obtained the Court of Appeal Judgment by fraud and fraudulent suppression of the fact that Innson Nig. Ltd. was paid the sum N1, 406,515,845.98 in final liquidation of the judgment debt – implies that Innocent Chukwuma and Innoson Nigeria Ltd are dubious, dishonest, dishonorable, and untrustworthy, of questionable character, fraudster, criminally deceptive, cheats and obtaining money through false pretenses.
In consequence, Innoson Nigeria Ltd and Innocent Chukwuma are claiming against the GT Bank PlC as follows: N100 Billion exemplary damages; N100 Billion for injury to feelings-mental pains and anxiety; N150 Billion for injury to reputation and N50 Billion general damages. Innoson Nig Ltd. and Chief Innocent Chukwuma further claim:
AN ORDER that the published words complained of be retracted by the Defendant – GT Bank with an apology published in two National dailies;
AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining the GT Bank from further maligning or otherwise defaming them in the words or similar words, complained of in this motion;
AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining GT Bank, its agents, privies or whomsoever from further defaming the plaintiffs;
22% interest on the said sums of money claimed above commencing on 22nd January 2016 till the date of the judgment and thereafter at the same rate of 22% interest until the satisfaction of the judgment debt.