After the departure of the previous chief executive officer (CEO), Olutayo Aderinokun, Innocent Chukwuma, chairman of the Innoson Group, claims his relationship with Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), now Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO Plc), altered.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Chukwuma said that the money owed to him by the bank will soon exceed their capabilities and that he may soon take over the bank’s assets.
A commercial dispute between Innoson and GTB has resulted in a protracted judicial struggle.
These isn’t the first time Innoson has made statements like this. In the aftermath of legal wranglings, he claimed in 2019 that he had received court approval to take over the bank.
Innoson had obtained a judgement debt against the bank in suits FHC/L/Cs/603/2006 and FHC/Cs/139/2012, which had grown to approximately N32 billion owing to interest.
Innoson had petitioned a federal high court in Lagos in July to get an order allowing GTB to reorganise to a holding company overturned.
However, the bank — now known as Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc — completed the reorganisation effectively (GTCO Plc).
“I was GTBANK’s best customer in the south-east when Tayo, the former MD, was alive. Because of this, they opened a branch in Nnewi. After Tayo, the new MD took over. I don’t even know him. I saw him for the first time last year,” Chukuma said.
“They started fighting me (the new MD). I don’t know exactly what his problem is.
“But finally, I have proved him wrong in everything. I have defeated him in all the courts we went to. The only thing left is for him to pay me what he owes me.
“He was going to my account and taking money anyhow. I discovered it, took him to court and won. Up till now, he hasn’t paid and we have gone up to the supreme court. Maybe he hasn’t paid because he wants Nigeria to change their law because of him.”
The CEO stated that he would no longer “disturb” the bank by demanding payment of the loan.
He claims that he will take over the bank when it is unable to pay the principal amount plus 22 per cent accrued interest.
“The beauty of the whole thing is that the money is attracting the interest of 22 per cent. So, I am waiting for the interest to be above their capacity so I can take over the bank,” Chukuma said.
“That’s what I am waiting for. I am not disturbing them anymore. I am assuring all the customers of GTB that if I take over, I would still run it well. They shouldn’t fear. I haven’t done any business that fails.
“I will run it better than them. If they cannot pay me, I have no choice but to take over the management.”