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N33Bn Debt: GTbank’s Transmutation Plan Suffers Setback As Innoson Files Fresh Suit

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The Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division has been asked to, among others, set aside its ex parte order sanctioning GTB’s plan to transmute to Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc; and to stay further recognition of Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc. as a financial or non-financial holding company and or as a legal entity until it pays its total outstanding judgment debt of Thirty-two Billion, Eight Hundred and Seventy-Five Million, two Hundred and Four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty-Four Naira, Thirty Eight Kobo (N32,875,204,984.38) to Innoson Nigeria Ltd.

This was contained in a Motion-on-Notice brought before the court by counsel to Innoson Nigeria Ltd, Chukwuebuka I Okolo Esq of McCarthy Mbadugha & Co. seeking for an order of the court to discharge and set aside the ex parte order granted to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc on June 16, 2021 and to set aside every step the bank took pursuant to the said ex parte order. The counsel further sought 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.

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GTB had obtained an ex parte order from the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division on June 16, 2021 to proceed with the registration of GTB HOLDCO beam despite its knowing that an application for injunctive orders by Innoson Nig Ltd in Suit No: FHC/EN/CS/161/2020 is at all material time pending in FHC Enugu Division to restrain it from transmuting to a Private and or a Financial Holding Company until it pays over N32Billion judgment debt it owed Innoson.

Innoson Nigeria Ltd had, in November 2020, sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Corporate Affairs Commission from deregistering GTB as a public limited liability company and re-registering it as a private limited liability company until GTB pays the total outstanding judgment debt of N32,875,204,984.38.

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 exparte order from Federal High Court, Lagos Division and without disclosing to the court that the subject matter of its application is already subjudice because injunctive orders has been sought in Suit No: FHC/EN/CS/161/2020, as well as the subject matter of this pending in Enugu Division of Federal High Court, to restrain GTB from proceeding with the said scheme both in a pending interlocutory and in the substantive suit already served on GTB and they have filed a memorandum of appearance and other processes in the suit.

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Innoson has therefore asked the Federal High Court to set aside and discharge the ex-parte order it granted GTB and a further order to stay further execution of the 16th of June 2021 order it granted it and also 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.

Innoson said no court in Nigeria had set aside the decisions of the judgment debts against GTB even though GTB had appealed both decisions even to the Supreme Court; rather the decisions had been affirmed by the appellate courts in Appeal Nos. CA/I/258/2011, SC.694/2014 and in CA/E/288/2013 in which till date GTB has refused to obey the Court of Appeal’s order that it pay the judgment debt subject of this particular appeal into an interest yielding account.

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