Chief Innocent Chukwuma, has filed a N200 billion suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before an Enugu State High Court, sitting in Enugu, for malicious falsehood, defamation and unlawful imprisonment.
The suit by Prof Joseph Mbadugha of McCarthy Mbadugha& Co, counsel to Innocent Chukwuma is coming against the backdrop of his recent unlawful arrest and subsequent release by the EFCC.
The EFCC had claimed in a statement on its official website that the arrest of Chief Chukwuma, “Followed his refusal to honour invitation by the commission having earlier jumped an administrative bail granted him in a case being investigated by the Capital Market and Insurance Fraud Unit of the Commission’s Lagos office.” EFCC further stated that “the industrialist used forged documents to secure tax waivers.”
Rebutting the claim by the EFCC, Dr Chukwuma through his spokesperson Mr Cornel Osigwe maintained that “at no time did Chukwuma (Innoson) receive an invitation or was invited by the EFCC or was there any time he jumped an administrative bail granted by the EFCC. Innoson is a public figure and a well-known industrialist of international repute. There is no how he would be invited by the EFCC and he would ignore or refuse to honour it.”
He had said that Innoson never had any issue or query from the EFCC of recent, adding that “The last issue Innoson had with EFCC was an invitation extended to him in 2012 based on a complaint against him by Guaranty Trust Bank, GTB. Innoson honoured that invitation and subsequently EFCC filed a charge against him at the Lagos High Court. The charge was subsequently struck out.
“However, Chief Chukwuma and Innoson Nigeria Ltd appealed against the order striking out on the basis that it ought to be dismissal and not struck-out. The appeal- appeal no: CA/I/1330Cm/2017 is till date pending at the Court of Appeal Lagos State. Since then EFCC has never invited him.
“The EFCC statement on the reason for Innoson arrest and also his unlawful arrest and detention caused untoward injury and damages to his person, personality, reputation and loss of business interest from his prospective business partners amounting to millions of dollars.
“On this premise, Chief Chukwuma and Innoson Nigeria Ltd are claiming against EFCC N30bn exemplary damages, N30bn for assault and battery, N30bn for false imprisonment, N40bn for injury to feelings- mental pains and anxiety arising from malicious falsehood and or defamatory publications of the defendants against the plaintiffs, N50bn for injury to plaintiff’s reputation arising from the said publications, N20bn for general damages.”
He is also asking the court to order that the published words complained of be retracted by the defendants and such retraction be published in two national newspapers.
He is also seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant either by itself, agents, privies, and/or assigns from further maligning or otherwise defaming the plaintiffs in the words complained of or similar words and/or in other manner howsoever.
He is also demanding a 22 percent interest on the sums of money claimed in sub-paragraphs (a)-(f) commencing from December, 20 2017 till judgement is delivered and a post judgment interest of 22 percent on the judgment sum till the final satisfaction of the judgment debt.
Innoson also filed a N50 billion suit against EFCC and four others for breach of his fundamental rights.