McCarthy Mbadugha: Court Stops EFCC From Arresting Innocent Chukwuma’s Lawyer

Chief Innocent Chukwuma, Nigeria’s foremost indigenous auto industrialist and chairman of Innoson Nigeria Ltd, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of interference in his legal battle with Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTB).

In a statement sent to journalists by his spokesman, Cornel Osigwe, Chukwuma noted stated that the EFCC is pursuing the interest of GTB on the pretext of exercising its statutory investigatory powers and curbing financial crimes.

Part of the statement read:

“Sometimes in January 2022, EFCC invited Prof. J. N. McCarthy Mbadugha, SAN – counsel to Innoson Nig Ltd- to an interview on 1st February 2022. Mbadugha honoured the invitation.”

“During the interrogation, EFCC showed him the counter affidavit to show cause which his secretary deposed to and filed on 23rd March 2011 in opposition to GTB’s affidavit to show cause in a matter which has been decided by the Federal Court and the decision of the Federal High Court which has affirmed by the Court of Appeal is presently pending at the Supreme Court- SC. 694/2014.”

“EFCC told Learned Silk that the depositions in the counter affidavit to show cause were false and asked him the source of the information. But the learned SAN emphatically told EFCC- its personnel interviewing, embarrassing and humiliating him- that the depositions are true.”

“That it was his client that provided all the information he used in prosecuting the case and that he verily believed his client. The Learned Silk insisted that both the trial court and Court of Appeal found that the depositions in GTB’s affidavit were false and that GTB did not deny the depositions in the counter affidavit of 23rd of March 2011 and that he relies and stands on the judgments of the two courts which have settled the matter and can only be overturned upon appeal and not the needless belated charade of investigation of the truth of the stated facts. EFCC kept him in its custody for over 7 hours.”

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“Subsequently, his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, Ph.D., a renowned Senior Advocate of Nigeria filed, at his instruction, a fundamental human rights suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division against EFCC and 5 other persons which includes GTB.”

“Consequently, following, an ex parte application at the Federal High Court Abuja by Chief Mike Ozekhome, PhD, SAN praying the court for an ex-parte Order of Injunction restraining the EFCC from inviting, arresting or detaining or keeping in its custody the counsel to Innoson Nigeria Ltd, Prof J. N. Mbadugha SAN, in relation to the frivolous allegations which he knows nothing about pending the hearing and determination of the substantive originating motion.”

“The Federal High Court granted the application and ordered that status quo ante bellum as of 7th February 2022 be maintained until the determination of the originating motion.”

Chief Chukwuma added that the motive behind the renewed interest by the EFCC to launch an investigation in a matter already decided by the courts can only be explained by GTB. He said this is not the first time that EFCC has chosen to take sides with GTB and allowed itself to be involved in matters that are not matters of crime.

Innoson Demands GTBank Pays N32.87billion Over Illegal Charges

Recall that in order to get N32.87 billion from Guaranty Trust Holding Company, Innoson had demanded that the company stop its restructuring.

Innoson asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to intervene in the pending debt allegedly owed by the financial institution since 2014.

The amount rose to N32.87 billion due to interest accrued over the years, although Guaranty Trust denied the claim that it is indebted to anyone.

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