The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has filed fraud charges against Innoson Motors and its founder, Innocent Chukwuma.
The third defendant in the suit is Chukwuma’s brother, Charles.
Recall that the Innoson boss was arrested by the EFCC at his residence in Enugu on Tuesday morning. He was then transported to Lagos where he was granted bail on Wednesday night.
Mr. Chukwuma dismissed the charges in a statement on Sunday, saying the EFCC lacks professionalism and legal intricacies.
The businessman has been locked in a long drawn legal battle with GTBank over alleged arbitrary deductions in his bank account.
The bank accused Chukwuma of forging shipping documents to obtain financial gratification for himself and his company.
However, the EFCC charges bordered entirely on the allegations raised by the bank.
The four-count included attempt to obtain under false pretense, obtaining under false pretense, theft and forgery of shipping and financial documents.
All the alleged offences contravene several extant criminal statutes in Lagos State and are punishable there, court filing shows.
The EFCC listed 10 witnesses who would support its case before the court.
The whereabouts of Charles Chukwuma is still unknown to federal authorities.
It is not immediately clear if a judge has been assigned to hear the case or when proceedings would commence.
In a response to the development Sunday night, Cornel Osigwe, a spokesperson for Innoson Group, said the EFCC has become so incompetent that it now abuses court processes at will.
“This is clearly an abuse of court process,” Mr. Osigwe said. “It seems like the EFCC does not have intelligent officers anymore.”
Mr. Osigwe said the EFCC had previously investigated the complaints which GTBank brought against Innoson in 2012.
“During the investigation, he was invited and he honoured the invitation. After the investigation EFCC filed a charge against him at Lagos State High Court.
“The charge was subsequently struck out.
“However Innocent Chukwuma and Innoson Nigeria Ltd. appealed against the order striking out the case on the basis that it ought to be dismissal in its entirety so that it will never be filed again.
“The appeal number is CA/l/1330CM/2017 and is, till date, still pending at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division.
“Since then, EFCC never invited him,” Mr. Osigwe said.
He accused GTBank of instigating the EFCC in order to divert attention from the damages ruling which Mr. Chukwuma had procured at different courts, including the Court of Appeal.
A spokesperson for GTBank declined comments about the claims Sunday night, insisting the matter was already before the law court.
“In corporate governance standards, an ethical institution does not comment about a matter that is already before the court,” said Meksley Nwagboh, GTBank head of corporate communications.