Nigeria’s GTBank has responded to Innoson Motors’ claim that it had been mandated by the court to “take over” the bank. Of course, that is alternative fact news. Yet, in the GTBank’s response, the bank dropped a troubling hint: “It is important to state that the Judgment allegedly in issue is in respect of Garnishee Proceedings against the account of the Nigerian Customs Service Board domiciled with the Bank and not against the Bank as an entity.” This particular case is simply unfortunate. What a pity but lawyers smile for the continuous good alerts!
But in its response, Erhi Obebeduo, company secretary of the bank, said the bank would resist any attempt to execute any such “illegal or fraudulent execution”.
“The attention of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (“the Bank”} has been drawn to statements circulating in the news and social media in respect of purported enforcement of a Judgment of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, Oyo State at one of its branches in Anambra State,” the bank said.
“The Bank as a law-abiding corporate citizen is taking all necessary legal steps to address this situation and ensure that no illegal or fraudulent execution is carried out.
“It is important to state that the Judgment allegedly in issue is in respect of Garnishee Proceedings against the account of the Nigerian Customs Service Board domiciled with the Bank and not against the Bank as an entity.”
#1. Ok, so, here is how it works. Mr. I (Innoson) sues Mr. C (Customs). Nothing to do with GTB. But Mr. C keeps its funds with GTB, like most people. Mr. I obtained judgment against Mr. C and seeks to enforce that judgment through Garnishee Proceedings (a mode of enforcing judgment) seeking to attach the funds with GTB that belongs to Mr. C.
Mr. I serves GTB with Garnishee Order Nisi to show cause why Mr. C’s funds with it shouldn’t be attached to satisfy the judgment debt. This isn’t any of GTB’s business. All it has to do is file Affidavit Showing Cause attaching Mr. C bank statement. The court then issues Garnishee Order Absolute and the judgment sum is paid to Mr. I.
Now, here’s the problem. GTB becomes a meddlesome interloper busy body and seeks to defend its customer Mr. C perhaps by not disclosing all the funds and now buys trouble for itself.
If Mr. I is able to show that Mr. C has funds with GTB and its refused to pay it, then the court will make consequential orders/judgment against GTB such as that it’s not solvent to pay judgment debt in its custody.
Banks have dabbled into Garnishee Proceedings that was not their business and have had their fingers burnt. Now no one is worrying about Mr. C the judgment debtor
- My response: You sabi the case – I have looked at this and can conclude one thing: GTBank really hated Innoson to have taken over the defense of Nigerian Customs. NCS is government and how a private bank (not govt owned) found it useful to pay lawyers to defend govt is something only LBS case study will explain.
#2. Innoson has no business with custom,as long as the garnishee order has been given by a competent court of jurisdiction,INNOSON has the powers to halt all banking transactions of GTB until that amount is paid,contrary he might decide to allow his money run on the 22? of 8.8billion,or have it converted to shares.the fact is that he dictates the pace! The hope of a common man,THE JUDICIARY
#3: GT bank wrote off Chief Innocent Chukwuma as “illiterate Igbo trader”, “illiterate Nnewi trader” with no liver or time for court cases.
It is the same reason police men prefer to be posted to Anambra State – especially the Onitsha-Nnewi axis, where they believe the traders don’t like going to police station or court. They would prefer to “settle” the police and go their way. But the same police men don’t like to be posted to Imo (especially the Owerri-Mbaise axis) or Enugu city where civil servants and lecturers have the patience to pursue cases and make life miserable for police people with court cases and petitions.
But Innoson surprised GTBank with his patience and doggedness.
This case the company just won against GTBank is just one of the two cases at the Supreme Court. This one is the case about its goods the Nigerian Customs seized and auctioned to politicians in 2004 (when Obasanjo was president.) The Court asked Nigerian Customs to pay Innoson but GTBank jumped into the case and appealed.
The second case is that of GTBank making clandestine deductions from Innoson amounting to about N600 million – ie secretly stealing from Innoson like most banks do to their unwary customers. Innoson asked GTBank to pay back at the 22 percent interest rate it was charging Innoson for the loan it lent it, but GTBank said that the best it would do was to pay back at 7 percent interest rate. It wanted to pay Innoson at the ridiculous rate it pays its depositors. So Innoson went to court. The High Court and Appeal Court ruled in its favour but GTBank went to the Supreme Court. It even got the EFCC to harass Chief Chukwuma and intimidate him to make him succumb, accusing the man and his company of sundry issues.
Innoson is awaiting the judgement of the Supreme Court on that case. In 2014 the amount GTBank would pay Innoson for the fraudulent deductions stood at 5.9 billion naira. In 2018, it stood at 14 billion. It continues to rise everyday.
In all this, Chief Chukwuma refused to be intimidated or discouraged. The upper hand he has is that the appeal court had ordered GTBank to pay him at an interest rate of 22 percent. So with the passing of each day, the amount GTBank will pay increases.
Caveat: This particular issue between GTBank and Innoson has little or nothing to do with ethnicity. It is a case of big corporations vs soft target. Big corporations always believe they have the financial muscle and connections to intimidate and wear out the soft target, even when it is clear to them that they are wrong.