Leading financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) has responded to media reports that the Supreme Court awarded N14 billion against it in its case against Innoson Motors and its Chairman, Innocent Chukwuma.
In a statement signed by the Company Secretary, Erhi Obebeduo, the bank described the reports as a “false, mischievous and malicious” account of what transpired at the apex court.
The bank urged its customers and shareholders to disregard the reports as it continues in its drive to recover bad loans from “debtor customers”.
The statement read in full, “The attention of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (“the Bank”) has been drawn to false, mischievous and malicious statements circulating in the news and social media in respect of a purported directive by the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the Bank to make payments to one of its debtor customers.
“The Bank’s Customers and the General Public are hereby kindly urged to disregard these false statements as nothing could be further from the truth. There was no directive or Order issued by the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the Bank to make any payment to any of its debtor customers.
“The Bank as a highly responsible corporate citizen will in accordance with its culture and tradition refrain from making comments about on-going litigation matters and will continue to focus on using legal means to recover its bad debts. It must be emphasised that the Bank remains undeterred in its recovery drive against recalcitrant debtors.
“We again reiterate that there is no iota of truth in the falsehood being peddled by desperate and mischievous elements and the General Public should disregard same in its entirety.
“The Bank remains committed to providing best-in-class customer experience to all its valued Customers.
“We thank you for your continued support and patronage.”
In the same vein, an Abuja-based financial analyst, Festus Igbinosa, queried where the media reports emanated from as there was no record of the apex court issuing such ruling in the court proceedings.
In an opinion piece published by TheCable, Igbinosa accused Innoson of deliberately misinforming the public in a press release in which it said that the court ordered “GTB to pay Innoson’s N14 billion judgment debt into an interest yielding account.”
Igbinosa wrote that the Supreme Court issued no such order, stating that the court only issued a directive that both parties return to the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu for a hearing on GTB’s substantive appeal scheduled for the 14th of June, 2018.
He said that the bank’s appeal was sequel to a 2013 high court judgment gotten by Innoson against the bank.
Igbinosa stated that the appeal at the Court of Appeal in Enugu stalled at the court of appeal for the past two years due to the pending motions filed by both parties at the Supreme Court.
“On Thursday, June 7, 2018, the apex court finally sat on the matter and asked both parties to withdraw their motions and return to the court of appeal, because GTB’s appeal at the lower court had not been heard,” he wrote.
“The implication [of the supreme court directive] is that both parties are going back to the court of appeal for the Bank’s substantive appeal to be heard,” he added, quoting a counsel in the legal team of one of the parties.