Innoson Nigeria Ltd has asked a federal high court in Lagos to set aside an order granting Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) permission to restructure to a holding company.
In a statement on Sunday, Cornel Osigwe, head of corporate communications and affairs at Innoson Group, said the company is asking the court to stay the order granted to the bank on June 16, 2021, “until it pays its total outstanding judgment debt of N32,875,204,984.38 to Innoson Nigeria Ltd.”
Innoson and GTB have had a long business dispute leading to legal battle.
Innoson had secured judgment debt against the bank in suit FHC/L/Cs/603/2006 and FHC/Cs/139/2012 respectively, which rose to over N32 billion due to accumulated interest.
In November 2020, GTB had obtained an approval-in-principle from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to commence a formal process of restructuring to a financial holding company (holdco).
In June 2021, the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group) listed Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GT HoldCo) after meeting all the requirements for the new listing.
In a motion on notice brought before the court by Chukwuebuka Okolo, counsel to Innoson Nigeria Ltd, the plaintiff is asking the court to “set aside every step the bank took pursuant to the said ex parte order.”
The company is also seeking “an order of the court to stay further recognition of Guaranty Trust Bank Holding Company Plc. as a financial or non-financial company and or as a legal entity.”
According to the statement, GTB’s action constitutes an abuse of court process having known that there is a pending application in suit No: FHC/EN/CS/161/2020 by Innoson before a federal high court in Enugu to restrain it from transmuting to a private and or a financial holding company until it pays the judgment debt.
“While the case in the Enugu division of federal high court is still pending, GTB against its corporate governance rules and in a classical abuse of court process filed and got an ex parte order from the federal high court, Lagos division and without disclosing to the court that the subject matter of its application is already subjudice because injunctive orders have been sought in Suit No: FHC/EN/CS/161/2020, as well as the subject matter of this pending in Enugu division of the federal high court, to restrain GTB from proceeding with the said scheme both in a pending interlocutory and in the substantive suit,” the statement reads.
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