Nigerians Panic Over GTBank’s Alleged Debt
OpenLife Nigeria reports that following a comment made by the Group Chairman, Innoson Group, Innocent Chukwuma, describing GTBank as fraudulent, a lot of Nigerians are worried over what would be the final outcome of the business faceoff between the two parties.
Innoson and GTB have had a business dispute leading to a prolonged legal battle.
Innoson had secured judgment debt against the bank in suit FHC/L/Cs/603/2006 and FHC/Cs/139/2012 respectively, which rose to over N32 billion due to accumulated interest.
In July, Innoson had asked a federal high court in Lagos to set aside an order permitting GTB to restructure to a holding company.
But the bank completed the restructuring — GTB is now known as Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO Plc).
Arising from that, however, Chukwuma, in an interview with journalists, said the money owed him by the bank would soon surpass their capacity.
He maintained that the management of the bank led by the chief executive officer “Was going to my account and taking money anyhow. I discovered it, took him to court and won. Up till now, he hasn’t paid and we have gone up to the Supreme Court. Maybe he hasn’t paid because he wants Nigeria to change their law because of him.”
The report which was earlier published in The Cable Newspaper quoted Innoson as saying that “I’m waiting to take over GTBank.”
According to Innoson, he would take over the bank when it gets to the point that the bank cannot pay the principal amount plus 22 percent accrued interest.
“The beauty of the whole thing is that the money is attracting the interest of 22 percent. So, I am waiting for the interest to be above their capacity so I can take over the bank,” Chukuma said.
“That’s what I am waiting for. I am not disturbing them anymore. I am assuring all the customers of GTB that if I take over, I would still run it well. They shouldn’t fear. I haven’t done any business that fails.
“I will run it better than them. If they cannot pay me, I have no choice but to take over the management.”
In the face of all this, Azuka Onwuka, a journalist, on Sunday, November 21, took to his Facebook wall and rained a poser which generated lot of reactions from Nigerians who are obviously in a panic mood.
According to Azuka Onwuka, “N30 billion Naira in 2020 at a compound interest of 22% will be how much by 2025? Mathematicians, please help us.
The Supreme Court ruled that GTBank should pay Innoson back some money with an interest of 22% per annum until the day it is paid.
The more GTBank delays, the more the money grows astronomically. I am wondering how GTBank will get out of this quagmire,” he wrote.
This poser hit the banking public on the wrong side and it immediately provoked reactions.
Among those who reacted was John Nwachukwu who said “It is not a good image to GTB. In the long run, the bank will not be trusted. It should avail itself of this palavar. However, we are yet to hear from GTB.”
In a clear term, Ken Onukwuli stated that “The bank capital base is 25bn. The biggest mistake the new CEO of the bank made was to fight Innoson. If only they can go for out-of-court settlement which maybe near impossible.”
But Segun Adeyi queried the payment delay by GTBank saying “Why aren’t they paying despite Supreme Court ruling? Why can’t the assets of the bank be sealed until they pay?”
Corroborating Adeyi’s submission, Amaike Odinakachi Felix said “U can’t subvert what Supreme Court has ruled on. They must pay him his money. Nobody is above the law. If they like let d present MD/CEO GT become d next president.”
For Ken Onukwuli, there is an urgent need to save depositors from unwarranted embarrassment. He stressed from a legal angle that “I don’t think Supreme Court will go back on judgment given. The more GTB delays, the more problem the board creates for their customers,” he observed.
Weighing the option of a political solution , Eze Uba emphasized that “It’s simple logic. They hope that Tinubu will be president come 2023 and the court case would be reversed in their favour, you know how things work in this country.”
Despite all this Ezi Okwu Bundu asserted that Innoson “Is now the owner of the bank, waiting for the official taking and handing over.”
Eben Udeh, who, according to his Facebook profile, lives in Portland, Oregon, United States of America, said the accumulated debt would “Become one trillion Naira after 18 years,” even as Okeke Chibueze said “They’re probably hoping on the Nigerian factor to play out in their favour.”
Adding his voice, Hycenth Ifeanyi Udodili advised that “They should quietly hand over the business and it’s structure to Innoson. That is what you get when you underrate a good business Igbo man. I believe the management of GT bank didn’t see this coming.”
Analyzing the issue further, Chukwuebuka Maduaburochukwu Anaebo, who may have sensed that GTBank is cooking some smart plans asked “Isn’t that why they changed name? If judgment were the other way, they would have since confiscated his holdings.” But Anderson Galadima disagrees with Anaebo stressing that “Customers will be used to pay for it through unnecessary deductions.”
From a religious perspective, Jonah Samuel sees it differently. According to him, “GTB knows that Nigeria will soon end. So no love is lost. No love found.”
On a cautionary note, Saint Chris Emmanuel Nwogbe said, in pidgin English, that “Na their customers go suffer it.
I be wan open Gt account. But I no open again,” he said.
In all of this, however, Osita Nicholas Osita feels there is no cause for alarm saying “No one is going to pay that. GTBank will most probably settle out of court. And Innocent will accept that. It happens in business,” he assured.
Attempts by OpenLife to get the official position of the issue were unsuccessful as of the time of publishing this report.
Message sent to the mobile number of the handler of GTBank public communication did not receive any response.