Keystone Bank Ltd and Bank of Industry are both at the receiving end of the Imo State Government’s failure to redeem its debt of N2.5 billion owed to Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM), an indigenous vehicle producing company in Nigeria.
This was as a result of the inability of IVM to fulfill its loan payment obligations to the said banks.
With the depreciation of the value of the Naira for U.S. Dollars in recent months, the company said it has recorded a great loss of over 40% to Imo State Government, coupled with the loss incurred over 10% interest rate, other fees the banks gave as credit facility. This is under the administration of the Executive Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodinma.
IVM’s legal counsel and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Prof Joseph N. Mbadugha consequently filed a suit against the Government, over repeated failed attempts made by the CEO of the company, Chief Dr. Innocent Chukwuma to obtain his money from the Governor
Prime Business Africa quotes Cornel Osigwe, the Head of Corporate Affairs, IVM Innoson Group, as disclosing in a statement, that “sometimes in April 2021, the Executive Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodinma invited the Chairman of Innoson Vehicles, Chief Dr. Innocent Chukwuma to the Imo State Government House, Owerri where they discussed and agreed that Innoson Vehicles would supply various specifications of its brand of vehicles to the State Government.
The vehicles inter alia includes:
• 70 units of Innoson 5 Seater double cabin pick-up (IVM Carrier) 4WD
• 10 units of Innoson 5- Seater double cabin military pick up (IVM G12
• 10 units of Innoson 5 seater single cabin military pick-up (IVM G12)
4. 100 units of a complete siren with public addressing system, revolving light, and street police light;
• 2 Units of IVM Ambulance Vehicles
• 20 Units of IVM G12 MS11
• 20 sets of B. Canopy
Osigwe was further quoted as saying that “The above vehicles which were valued at over N2.5B ($6.3M) were supplied in good faith to the Imo State Government based on an understanding with the Governor which arose after a special request that Innoson Vehicles grant the State the favor of paying for the vehicles after deliveries to them and which request was granted and honored.” .
Decrying the state of things in the company, Osigwe further disclosed that as of July 27th, 2022, the over N2.5 billion worth of vehicles supplied to Imo State Government in April 2021, with a dollar value of $6.3M is now worth $3.8 million. “ Even if the money is paid today, the value of the money has depreciated,” said Osigwe.
The Corporate Communications head described the request granted as a “special privilege turned to nightmare” when he claimed that the Chairman of the Group at various times since 2021 gave several visits, phone calls, messages, submitted letters to the Governor to set up a payment plan or make the total payment to clear his debt.
“It is therefore based on this premise that Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Ltd has begun the process of recovering its debts against the Imo State Government by slamming a lawsuit of over N2.5 billion with an interest rate of 10% on the entirety of the sum claimed at the High Court of Anambra State, Nnewi Division,” concluded Cornel