The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Innoson Nigeria Ltd, Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, has faulted the fraud charge slammed on him and two others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Chukwuma denied stealing containers of motorcycle spare parts and raw materials.
The Innoson CEO, in a statement made available to New Telegraph yesterday, stated that the EFCC’s action was taken in bad faith. Head of Corporate Communications, Innoson Group, Cornel Osigwe, said the alleged fraud charge filed by the EFCC is a ploy orchestrated by the commission to “justify the Gestapo style of arrest used in bundling Dr. Chukwuma out of his residence.”
He added that the antigraft agency’s action was taken in bad faith to change the narrative in order to portray Innoson in bad light and divert the attention of the public who have continued to condemn the illegal action taken by the commission.
The statement further queries the rationale behind the allegations in the charge against the Innoson boss. It was contended that GTB had no licence to import motorcycle spare parts as alluded to by the EFCC in the charge when it claimed the items were the bank’s property. “Nigeria needs to ask EFCC if GTB, as a bank, has any licence to import motorcycle spare parts or CKD.
A cursory look at the charges filed by EFCC at court is both laughable and constitutes a national embarrassment. “The motorcycles, being deemed the property of GTB, were ordered by Innoson from its manufacturers and suppliers with a loan from GTB.
Under letter of credit transaction, in international trade, bills of ladings are consigned to banks, not because the banks – consignees – are the owners of the goods, but rather to ensure that the seller is paid and the buyer receives the goods.
“Mere consignment or endorsement of a bill of lading does not confer title in the goods covered by the bill of laden to either the consignee or the endorsee. Where consignment or endorsement of a bill of laden is intended as a security for loan, consignment or endorsement in such circumstance, does not transfer title in the goods to the consignee or the endorsee.
“All Innoson’s letter of credit transactions, through GTB, were confirmed LCs. In letter of credit transactions (LC), particularly but not exclusively confirmed LC, the term is cash against documents. Shipping documents are not released by the advising/correspondent bank to the issuing bank, until the issuing bank pays for the goods. At all material times, Innoson paid 25% of every LC value before it was opened,” the statement added.
The EFCC has slammed a four-count charge of alleged stealing and forgery on Dr. Chukwuma. Those joined as co-defendants in the suit by the EFCC are; Innoson Nigeria Ltd and one Charles Chukwuma. Expressing reservations about media publications of the said charge, Chukwuma contended that the temporary suit number assigned to it is an indication that it is yet to be filed in any court of law in Lagos State.
“We have some reservations with the publications of the details of the suit in question because the charge which EFCC purports to file against Innoson has a temporary suit number, vis- temp/3315c/2017.
“This number is written with red pen at the top most right side of the charge published at EFCC’s page. By this temporary number, it means that the charge is not yet before any court in Lagos State. Also, it means that the charge cannot be acted upon by any court in Lagos State and it cannot be served on any party as well. As it is, the charge has not been filed.
“So, why the media noise by the commission of filling fraud charge against Innoson? We believe that it is a volte face,” he argued. Osigwe further alleged that the travail of the Innoson boss might not be unconnected with a grand conspiracy by a rival company to pull him down at all cost.
He said: “We have it now on good authority that there is a grand conspiracy by an international competitor of Innoson vehicles who have conspired with a financial institution to pull down Innoson vehicles at all cost because of the latest increase of patronage of Innoson vehicles by the Federal Government.
“But we are amazed that EFCC, a Federal Government agency which is supposed at all times to defend indigenous Nigerian companies who are working hard to make Nigeria great, will allow itself to be used as a tool to kill and destroy these companies.”