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 How Government Kills Businesses In Nigeria: Innoson/Imo State Debacle
August 5, 2022

How Government Kills Businesses In Nigeria: Innoson/Imo State Debacle

IMO State Owes Innoson Vehicles N2.5B And We Stand By Our Statement.

Our attention has been drawn to a statement purportedly released by the Commissioner for information and Strategy, Hon Declan Emelumba on behalf of the Imo State Government. The said statement was unscrupulously written to water down the facts and substance stated in our earlier statement. We do not wish to join words with Imo State Government as we now have it on good authority that it has engaged its e-dogs to discredit our brand in the media space. The matter is now before the courts and we have always believed in the integrity of the judiciary to do the right thing when facts are stated.

However, to ensure that the public is not deceived by the so-called response, we have decided to puncture the pack of lies and further strengthen the facts.

1. On buying N5B worth of vehicles: In March 2020, Imo State Government under His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodinma on the assumption of office as the Governor of Imo State procured and paid for its first set of Innoson Vehicles it ordered from the company. The Governor assured Innoson that his government will always patronize Innoson Vehicles for its vehicular needs. The details of this transaction were not done in secret but were carried in the media. See the link of the transactions as reported by a media outfit. https://www.google.com.ng/…/imo-state-gov-hope…/amp

After one year, specifically in April 2021, Imo State Government requested the supply of another set of vehicles with an understanding the State Government will pay for the vehicles after deliveries to them, just as was the case with the first transaction and which request was granted and honored. This particular transaction was reported by many news media. See link as reported by Thisday Newspaper- https://www.google.com.ng/…/uzodinma-buys-more…/amp/.

Innoson Vehicles has made all efforts since April 2021 through every means possible to make the Governor pay for the vehicles, all to no avail, even with the involvement of top officials in Government, clergies, and Bishops both with and outside Imo State to intervene on the matter, yet Imo State Government never responded to all these interventions. More so, Innoson Vehicles gave Imo State Government an option of setting up a payment plan on monthly basis, yet there was no response or word from the State Government. Approaching the courts to recover the debt was the last option for us since The Governor has rebuffed all entreaties made to him to pay us.

2. Contractual Agreement: it is not correct that Innoson Vehicles agreed with the Imo State Government that Innoson Vehicles will set up a Service Centre in Imo State. For the avoidance of doubt, Innoson Vehicles have various vehicle servicing partners in Imo State where Innoson Vehicles are maintained and serviced. More interestingly, Innoson Vehicles has its unique mobile workshop that provides maintenance and vehicle servicing to its clients.

To the best of our knowledge, Innoson Vehicles has always maintained and serviced the vehicles supplied to the Imo State Government up to the stage the company decided to disengage its maintenance and servicing as a result of non-payment of servicing parts used which have risen to above 7M naira. This particular debt among others is what Innoson Vehicles has detailed to recover from the law court. Innoson Vehicles is not a charitable organization but a business concern that needs money to stay in business.

3. Debt Servicing. The statement on servicing of debt in all its entirety is false. Note especially that the mode of transaction Innoson Vehicles did with Imo State Government is not only peculiar with the State, but Innoson Vehicles have also used a similar model to many of its clients including state governments. We have some clients who couldn’t pay at once but entered a payment plan with the company even up to a 12months plan. Since the vehicles were delivered in April 2021, the State Government hasn’t paid one naira. The company has utilized every known means to make the state pay or negotiate a payment plan that will clear the debt but all to no avail.

4. On Not Being Served. The Honorable Commissioner is either being economical with the truth or not aware of happenings in his State. The defendants in the suit including the Attorney General of Imo State have been served by the bailiff of the honorable court.

5. In as much as Innoson Vehicles doesn’t delight in going to court with its customers over matters of this nature. In this instant case, seeking redress is the last option open to the company as the government was not disposed to settling the debt or reaching an understanding with the company on terms of settling the mounting debt. It was just indifferent and unmindful of the effect on the company. To us resort to court became the last port of call. Unfortunately, the government instead of addressing the issue of debt owed resorted to blackmail and de-marketing tactics as a spurious defense. The discerning public is not deceived. There are several receipts of letters and messages sent to the State Government and the Governor appealing to his conscience that the nonpayment of this debt or its servicing will lead to the shut down of operations of Innoson Vehicles, not for once did we get any response of hope from the Governor.

5. Innoson Vehicles is urging the Imo State Government to do the needful and pay its debt with the accruing interest so that the case will be withdrawn from court.

Cornel Osigwe
Head, Corporate Communications and Affairs
IVM Innoson Group

However The Imo state government has described as distasteful and cheap blackmail the claim by Innoson Motors that it is owing the company N2.5b being cost of the vehicles it supplied to it some months ago, insisting that the company’s claim are half truths ,intended to impugn on the integrity of the state government for ulterior motives.
Reacting to a threat by the company that it is filling a lawsuit to recover” over N2.5B debt owed’ it by the state government, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon Declan Emelumba deplored the manner the company is going about the recovery of the so called debt.
The Commissioner said the truth is that the government bought vehicles worth over N5b from Innoson motors and has so far paid them N3.5b.
According to him, contrary to the claim of Innoson Motors, the said N2.5b is actually the balance due from the original value of the purchase. He regretted that Innoson motors, for reasons best known to them, decided to hide this fact from the public.
Emelumba insisted that the total value of the vehicles supplied was in excess of N5b and that the government has been servicing the debt since then.
He said the management of Innoson Motors was actually the one that breached the contractual agreement with the state government regarding the sale and maintenance of the vehicles.
According to him, there is a clause in the purchase agreement stipulating the siting of a maintenance workshop in owerri and a mobile workshop as well , by Innoson Motors, for the maintenance of the vehicles.
He noted that inspite of the fact that the company breached this agreement, the state government has been servicing the debt and still maintaining the vehicles, disclosing that more than 70% of the vehicles have already broken down.
He said both the threat by the company and resort to media trial of the government were in bad faith.
“It appears the company is out to rubbish the integrity of the government, otherwise it would not have twisted the facts of the case and published same concerning this honest business transaction , even when it failed to show the public the terms of the contract and the clauses the government breached therein. “The whole thing smacks of mischief and bad faith” Emelumba added.
He also regretted that Innoson Motors had not actually exhausted all means of negotiation before threatening the government with a law suit.
Said he “the mischievous resort to media trial has confirmed that the company is more interested in compromising the integrity of the government rather than being paid its outstanding balance from the contract sum”
The commissioner disclosed that although no court process has been served it, the government will meet the company in court as soon as a process is served.
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