N32bn Judgment Debt: Innoson Urges Court to Restrain GTB from Transmuting into Private, Financial Holding Company

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By Christopher Isiguzo

Nigeria’s indigenous car manufacturer, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM), has urged the Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra State to stop the management of the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) from de-registering itself as a limited liability company until it pays the judgment debt of N32 billion to the company.

The IVM, in a statement by its Head of Corporate Communications, Cornel Osigwe, lamented that rather than clear its judgment debt, the bank was seeking for a clever exit strategy contrary to judgments of several courts.

Osigwe said the bank was yet to come up with a payment plan to defray the judgment debt of N32 billion, raising the alarm that the bank is presently trying to de-register itself, hence the court action.

“While we await the bank to come up with a payment plan for its over N32 billion judgment debt, GTB resorted to a scheme of de-registering itself as a public limited liability company and re-registering itself as a private limited liability company and a financial holding company as well. Innoson Nig Ltd, as its creditor, has as a result sued GTB at the Federal High Court.”

Innoson in the latest court action is seeking a perpetual injunction (a) restraining the 4th defendant (Corporate Affairs Commission) from deregistering the 1st defendant (GTB) as a public limited liability company and/or re-registering the 1st defendant (GTB) as a private limited liability until it — GTB — pays the outstanding judgment debt of N32,875,204,984.38k arising from Suit Nos: FHC/L/CS/603/2006 and No. FHC/AWK/CS/139/2012 respectively affirmed by the appellate courts in appeal Nos. CA/1/258/2011, SC.694/2014 and CA /E/288/2013 to Innoson Nig Ltd.

It is also seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 4th defendant (Corporate Affairs Commission) from registering or re-registering the 1st defendant (GTB) as a holding or financial holding company whether as a public or private limited liability company until it — the 1st defendant (GTB) –pays Innoson Nigeria Ltd the outstanding total judgment debt of N32,875,204,984.38k arising from suit Nos. FHC/L/CS/603/2006 and FHC/AWk/CS/139/2012 respectively affirmed by the appellate courts in Appeal Nos. CA/1/258/2011, SC.694/2014 and CA/E/288/2013.

It also asked for an order cancelling the 1st defendant’s (GTB’s) special resolution and/or any other of its resolution that it should be deregistered as a public limited liability company and/or be re-registered as a private limited liability company and/or a holding company until it — the 1st defendant (GTB) — pays Innoson Nig Ltd the total outstanding judgment debt of N32,875,204,984.38k arising from suit Nos. FHC/L/CS/603/2006 and FHC/AWk/CS/139/2012 respectively affirmed by the appellate courts in Appeal Nos. CA/1/258/2011, SC.694/2014 and CA/E/288/2013.

The release further noted that the vehicle manufacturing company is seeking for an order setting aside the 3rd defendant’s (Security and Exchange Commission) No -objection to 1st defendant’s proposal to be re-registered as a private limited liability company and as a holding or a holding financial company, an order setting aside the 2nd defendant’s (Central Bank of Nigeria) approval in principal granted to the 1st defendant (GTB) to operate as a holding or a holding financial company.

It also asked the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd defendant (Central Bank of Nigeria) from granting the 1st defendant (GTB) a financial holding company licence and/or a final approval to operate or carry on business as a financial holding company whether in its present name or as a private limited liability company until it, the 1st defendant (GTB )pays the plaintiff (Innoson Nig Ltd) the total outstanding judgment debt of N32,875,204,984. 38k arising from suit Nos. FHC/L/CS/603/2006 and FHC/AWK/CS/139/2012 respectively affirmed by the appellate courts in Appeal Nos. CA/1/258/2011, SC.694/2014, and CA/E/288/2013.