Hope Uzodimma In Trouble As Innoson Motor Company Drags His Government To Court Over N2.5b Debt

Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo State

By Chidi Nwadike

Nigeria’s indigenous vehicle manufacturing company, Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing (IVM) has filed an over N2.5billion lawsuit against the Imo State Government for a breach of sales agreement worth over N2.5billion.

The Imo government led by Senator Hope Uzodimma is being sued for its failure to pay or service the debt of N2,547,666,435.00 (Two Billion, Five Hundred and Forty-Seven Million, Six Hundred and Sixty-Six Thousand, Four Hundred and Thirty-Five Naira) being the purchase price of the various IVM Vehicles including their parts which IVM manufactured, sold and delivered to the State Government.

AtlanticNewsonline gathered that Governor Uzodimma’s government has refused and failed to pay same despite repeated demands and appeals.

The lawsuit was filed by Prof. Joseph Mbadugha, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), of McCarthy Mbadugha & Co, counsel to Innoson Vehicles coming against repeated attempts made by the Chairman of Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing, Chief (Dr). Innocent Chukwuma to the Governor urging him to pay the company on the vehicles sold, and delivered to the State Government.

It was gathered that sometime in April 2021, Governor Uzodinma had invited the Chairman/CEO of Innoson Vehicles, Innocent Chukwuma to the Imo State Government House, Owerri where they discussed and agreed that Innoson Vehicles would sell and supply various specifications of its brand of Vehicles to the State Government. These included 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), 100 units of a complete siren with public addressing system, revolving light, and street police light;

Others included 2-Units of IVM Ambulance Vehicle, 20 Units of IVM G12 MS11 and 20 sets of B. Canopy

The above vehicles said to be 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.

The special privilege request granted to the Governor turned into a nightmare for Innoson Vehicles and Its Chairman after Chief Chukwuma had at various times through several visits, phone calls, messages, and submission of letters requesting payment appealed to the Governor and his conscience to make total payments or set up a payment plan that will offset the debt.

The inability of the State Government to pay the stated amount subsequently resulted in inability of Innoson Vehicles having difficulties in fulfilling its loan repayment obligations to Keystone Bank Limited and Bank of Industry.

It was revealed that the two banks granted their credit facilities at the rate of 10% interest and other fees therein. More so, it has led to the loss of profit arising therefrom and the accruing interest.

It is also interesting to note that as of July 27th, 2022, the over N2.5B worth of vehicles supplied to Imo State Government in April 2021 under the leadership of Hope Uzodinma with a dollar value of $6.3M is now worth $3.8M. Even if the money is paid today, the value of the money has depreciated by over 40%.

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 N2.5B with an interest rate of 10% on the entirety of the sum claimed at the High Court of Anambra State, Nnewi Division.

Written by: Frank Oshanugor

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