The chairman/managing director of Innoson Motors, Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, known popularly as Innoson, has described all the accusations leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as lies.
This was as Chukwuma was said to have initially refused to leave the premises of the EFCC after the commission granted him bail on Wednesday.
The EFCC had in a statement on its Facebook wall with the title, “EFCC Releases Innoson on Bail” announced that it has freed the Nnewi, Anambra-State born industrialist, who runs a local auto assembly plant.
The anti-graft agency arrested Chukwuma on Tuesday December 19, at his Enugu residence on the claims that he refused to honour its invitations after initially being granted administrative bail by the commission, while his surety could also not be found.
The EFCC had further claimed that the industrialist “resisted arrest and stirred controversy by bringing six truck-loads of thugs to block the entrance to his Plot W1, Industrial Layout, Abakaliki Road, Emeni, Enugu, home. This was after he initially misled the Police Command by informing them that his home had been invaded by armed robbers and kidnappers despite the fact that operatives of the commission duly identified themselves to policemen guarding his home.
“His unruly thugs encircled and manhandled operatives of the commission who had gone to effect the arrest. Consequently, a distress call was sent to the commission’s Enugu office for reinforcement. In all of this, the commission’s operatives acted with decorum and civility. No one was manhandled or assaulted by the EFCC team, and not a single shot was fired, despite the provocation.
Chief Chukwuma and his brother, Charles Chukwuma (who is still at large), are being investigated by the Insurance and Capital Market Fraud Section of the commission’s office in Lagos over matters bordering on N1, 478, 366, 859.66 fraud and forgery. The industrialist, among other infractions, they allegedly used forged documents to secure tax waivers,” the EFCC had claimed.
But in a release entitled, “RE: EFCC Releases Innoson on Bail”, Innoson Group Head of Corporate Communications, Cornel Osigwe, accused EFCC of making false accusation against the group’s chairman/managing director.
The statement read, “Dr Innocent Chukwuma (OFR) was this (Wednesday) evening released by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. He initially refused to leave their premises because the commission did not officially communicate to him why he was arrested like a common criminal.
After carefully reading through the commission’s press release on their official Facebook page tonight, we deem it fit to tell Nigerians who have stood and supported Dr Innocent Chukwuma in no small measure during his unjust detention by the EFCC the truth and our own side of the story.
“1. First and foremost, we reiterate that EFCC’s claim that they invited Dr Innocent Chukwuma (INNOSON) and he refused to honour same invite as false. We urge them to show Nigerians dated proof that he was duly invited by the Commission. Dr Chukwuma is a man of impeccable character and a law abiding citizen. He will never disrespect or disregard a constituted authority.
“2. The Commission’s claim that Dr Chukwuma resisted arrest is laughable. His residence was raided at 5am. They don’t expect him to run out and hand himself to whoever it was that came for him. He waited to be sure about the identity of the people that invaded his premises before coming out. Dr Chukwuma has nothing to hide or be afraid of.
“3. EFCC alleged that Dr Chukwuma hired Six truck-loads of thugs to manhandle operatives of the Commission. This is preposterous. The people that invaded Dr Chukwuma’s residence were armed to the teeth. How can people without arms attack fully armed operatives of the commission?
“The supposed thugs are well meaning Nigerians who are making an honest living from Innoson Group. They merely came to protest and show solidarity with their chairman who was about being whisked away in a gestapo styled arrest.
“The commission also claimed no single shot was fired despite the provocation. This is a figment of their imagination. This is a clear deviation from the truth. Innocent protesting workers were teargased. We have images to back up this claim.
“4. The commission said Dr Innocent Chukwuma and his Brother Mr. Charles Chukwuma are being investigated for forgery. Can they show Nigerians a dated Petition to them and who the petition came from.
“5. Finally, we would like Nigerians to know that we have a dispute with Guarantee Trust Bank which arose from a business deal that went wrong. This case is on final appeal at the Supreme Court. We won’t want to comment on this because it will be subjudice to do so. We implore everyone to wait till The Judiciary which remains the final arbiter to adjudicate and give their judgment in this matter.
“We have been harassed and extremely provoked as a company since this issue arose but we have kept faith in our Legal system.”
This is coming as the Senate on Wednesday questioned EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu over the arrest and detention of Chukwuma.
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