Accused of N2.4 billion forgery, Innoson motors wants judge to hands off case

Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday fixed January 26, 2017, to hear an application to `recuse’ himself from a N2.4 billion suit against Innosson Nig. Ltd.

 

Innosson Nig. Ltd, Innocent Chukwuma , Charles Chukwuma Maximian Chukwuma, Mitsui Osk Lines `C’ and Anajekwu Sunny are facing trial before the court on charges bordering on falsification of shipping document.

 

At the resumed hearing of the case, the prosecutor, Mr J.I Ajakaiye, sought to withdraw a counter affidavit and written address he had filed, on the ground that he had fresh applications.

 

This prayer was not opposed by the defence team.

 

However, Nnabueze Mbadugha, one of the counsel, reminded the court that there was a pending application for the judge to disqualify himself from the matter.

 

He argued that “once there is such application, no further action is required to be taken by the judge, who is only expected to step aside.’’

 

According to him, once the neutrality of a court has been questioned, it offends the sensibilities of fairness and justice for the court to continue to entertain further proceedings.

 

Quoting the Latin maxim, “Nemo judex in causa sua,” Mr. Mbadugha submitted that it was a serious error for the judge to seek to entertain applications in respect of the same case.

 

According to him, the said Latin maxim simply postulates that one cannot be a judge in his own case.

 

He, therefore, urged the court to recuse itself from taking further steps in the case.

 

In a short ruling, Mr. Saidu held that the defence counsel had not moved any application before him urging him to disqualify himself from the case.

 

The judge said that he would not “chicken out’’ of the suit simply because a party says so, but would rather wait for an application to be moved in that respect.

 

He held, “It is the duty of the court to rule on an application after it has been heard and not to chicken out because a party does not want it to preside over it.

 

“Judges are not to submit to intimidation of parties; I am yet to hear any such application before me and so, I will not recuse myself now, until I hear the application,” the Judge said.

 

The court then fixed January 26 for hearing.

 

In the charge, the accused were alleged to have conspired to commit the offence on October 10, 2013 at Apapa Wharf.

 

The prosecution alleged that the accused falsified shipping documents, which they deposited with Guaranty Trust Bank Plc as collateral for the sum of N2.4 billion.

 

The loan facility was granted Innosson Nig. Ltd but the shipping documents were discovered to have been falsely presented as genuine with intent to defraud in order to clear the N2.4 billion goods.

 

According to the charge, the offence contravened the provisions of sections 1(2) (c), and 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offence Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation 2004.

Innoson, Chinese group target 7,000 workers for technology transfer.

About 7,000 workers are expected to benefit from a technology transfer initiative between Innoson motors and a Chinese group, Shandong Broadcasting and Television.

The group said that the initiative is under its expansion of investment into the media and Information Communication Technology sectors.

Chairman of Innoson Group, Dr. Chukwuma Innocent, said in Abuja recently after a meeting with the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, that the partnership will be in the area of broadcasting, direct home TV, satellite broadcasting, e-policing and ICT.

He further informed that his vehicle production factory is working towards getting a partner for engine manufacturing in Nigeria once the patronage level reaches a desirable level.

“We can establish the engine factory in Nigeria when we get a measure of patronage,” he said.Earlier at the meeting, the Minister eulogised Innoson for working to ensure that the Nigerian economy remained strong.

“We are happy you have this partnership with China and the ministry is ready to support it. Innoson is helping in our economic transition to ensure we can produce what we use in Nigeria,” he said.

To the Chinese team led by Deputy Minister and Chairman of Shandong Broadcasting and Television, Liu Baoju, Onu expressed happiness that there would be technology transfer, which he said would further strengthen economic relations between both countries.

Innoson Slams N30 Billion Lawsuit On GTBank

Nigeria’s first indigenous automobile manufacturer, Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited, has slammed a N30 billion suit against Guarantee Trust Bank, GTB, as a result of damages the company suffered following an ex parte order of Martha Injunction, which GTB applied and obtained, freezing Innoson’s accounts in all the banks in Nigeria.

However, on June 10, Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court, Lagos, in a considered ruling set aside the ex parte order of September 1, 2014 and the writ of summons as well. The running legal battle between Innoson and GTB started when Innoson challenged the action of Nigerian Customs Service for auctioning its goods.

In a Garnishee Order Absolute, the court had ordered GTB to pay Innoson N2,048,737,443.67 from
Customs account. Rather than comply with the Garnishee Order Absolute of the court, GTB on February 6, 2015 appealed the judgment, but the Court of Appeal in Appeal no. CA/1/258/2011 affirmed the judgment of the Federal High Court and ordered GTB to pay the judgment debt of N2,048,737,443.67 to Innoson.

GTB, instead, appealed to the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal’s decision. In another suit, Innoson sued GTB for imposing excess and unlawful charges on the company’s account with the bank amounting to N559 million. The trial court gave a N4.7 billion judgment in favour of Innoson.

GTB subsequently appealed the judgment of the Awka High Court, but the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, upheld the judgment and ordered GTB to pay the judgment debt, which stood at over N5.7 billion, into an interest-yielding account in the name of the Chief Regi-strar of the Court of Appeal. However, GTB has appealed to the Supreme Court.