Innoson, an indigenous auto company owned by Innocent Chukwuma, has approached the Federal High Court in Enugu to stop what it claims as deregistration and re-registration of Guaranty Trust Bank until the bank pays the company a N32 billion judgement debt.
Joined in the suit is the Central Bank of Nigeria as the second defendant; Securities and Exchange Commission as the third defendant; and Corporate Affairs Commission as the fourth defendant.
Innoson claimed that the bank is trying to deregister as a public limited liability company to avoid paying the judgment debt awarded against it.
Innoson is therefore praying the court for an order of perpetual injunctions restraining the CAC from going private until the bank pays the outstanding judgment debt arising from disagreement on loans and importation of auto spare parts.
The auto company is also asking the court to set aside SEC's no-objection to GTB's proposal to re-register as a private limited liability company or a holding financial company, as well as set aside CBN's earlier approval of GTB's request to go private.
"An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd Defendant (Central Bank of Nigeria) from granting the 1st Defendant (GTB) a financial holding company license and or 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 judgement debt of N32, 875, 204, 984. 38k (Thirty Two Billion, Eight Hundred and Seventy-Five Million, Two Hundred and Four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty-Four Naira, Thirty-Eight Kobo) 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 statement read.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria had struck out GTB's motion to set aside its earlier decision in February 2019 dismissing GTB's appeal against the Court of Appeal judgement in 2014 which was in favour of Innoson.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, the Federal High Court in Awka granted leave to Innoson to enforce and execute the judgment.
As Innoson commenced the process of executing the judgement, GTB filed a motion on notice seeking an order for staying or suspending the execution embarked upon by Innoson and sought an order to set aside the exparte order by the lower court granting Innoson leave to enforce the judgment.
Whilst refusing GTB's application and staying further proceedings, the Supreme Court further held that the order it made on March 27, 2019, in favour of Innoson was still valid, adding that all the steps taken for executions in pursuance of that order were valid.
It was reported that while Innoson was still waiting for GTB to come up with a payment plan for the Judgement debt, the bank decided to go private.