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Business News of Sunday, 31 July 2022


Innoson Motors sues Imo govt over N2.5 billion debt

Hope Uzodinma Hope Uzodinma

Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company (IVM) says it has filed a lawsuit against Imo State Government at a State High Court in Anambra State over an unpaid debt

The company said the lawsuit followed the failure of the state government to pay or service a debt of over N2.5 billion for the purchase of vehicles and their parts.

Innoson’s head of corporate communications, Cornel Osigwe, who disclosed this in a statement on Friday, said the state government refused to pay the debt despite the company’s “repeated demands and appeals.”

He said the Chairman of Innoson, Innocent Chukwuma, has repeatedly asked the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, to pay the debt, but that the governor has refused.

“The inability of the state government to pay the N2.5 billion purchase price of the vehicles supplied has resulted in Innoson Vehicles having difficulties in fulfilling its loan repayment obligations to Keystone bank and Bank of Industry,” he said.

“More so, it has led to the loss of profit arising therefrom and the accruing interest.”

The vehicles were supplied in good faith to the state government based on the understanding with the governor that payments would be made after deliveries, the company’s spokesperson said.

Mr Osigwe said the worth of the N2.5 billion debt with a dollar value of $3.8 million, has now risen to about $6.3 million, pointing out that the value of the money depreciated by over 40 percent.

He said it is based on that premise that the company is seeking to recover the debt with an interest rate of 10 percent.

“You’re covering some facts” – Imo govt tells InnosonReacting, the Commissioner for Information in Imo State, Declan Emelumba, said the Innoson company was covering some facts in the allegation.

He accused the company of intentionally refusing to admit that the state government had made some payments and that the amount being claimed by the company was just a balance of the total cost of the vehicles purchased by the government.

“The truth is that the total value of the contract we had with them came to over N5 billion out of which we have paid N3.5 billion. So, they are talking about the balance,” Mr Emelumba told PREMIUM TIMES.

The Information commissioner argued that the state government has shown faith in the contract by making a part payment to the Innoson group, insisting that the impression being created by the company against the government was “wrong and incorrect.”

“And secondly, they also failed to admit that, as part of that agreement, they were to set up a maintenance shop for the vehicles, because part of the agreement was that they would be maintaining the vehicles,” he said.

“They didn’t set up that shop, but that has not stopped us from redeeming the debt.”