Imo dismisses Innoson’s N2.5 billion debt claim, says it is blackmail
Imo State Government has responded to the management of Innoson Motors debt claims of N2.5 billion against it, describing it as ‘mischievous, half-truths and blackmail’ against government.
This was contained in a statement issued, yesterday, by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba.
Innoson Motors management had, at the weekend, issued a statement, disclosing that it had sued the state government for its alleged inability to pay it a sum of N2.5 billion being the amount incurred by the government for the purchase of vehicles from the company.
In response to the claim, the state government said it was waiting for the court processes to be served, saying: “The Imo government has described, as distasteful and cheap blackmail, the claim by Innoson Motors that it is owing the company N2.5 billion being cost of vehicles it supplied to it some months ago, insisting the company’s claims are half truths, intended to denigrate the integrity of the state government for ulterior motives.” It said the debt was being serviced since it procured the items.
To set the records straight, the statement maintained that the state government bought the vehicles in excess of N5 billion, disclosing that the sum of N3.5 billion was paid, with N2.5 billion resulting in the balance of the original value. The statement, therefore, condemned the manner the company is handling the matter.
It said: “Contrary to the claim of Innoson Motors, the said N2.5 billion is actually the balance from the original value of the purchase. Innoson Motors, for reasons best known to the company, decided to hide this fact from the public.”
The statement maintained that it was the company that had, allegedly, continued to breach the contractual agreement.
“There is a clause in the purchase agreement stipulating the siting of a maintenance workshop in Owerri, as well as a mobile workshop for maintenance of the vehicles. Despite that the company breached this agreement, the state government has been servicing the debt and still maintaining the vehicles, disclosing that more than 70 per cent of the vehicles have already broken down.”
The statement maintained it was wrong to engage in media trial: “It appears the company is out to rubbish the integrity of Imo government; otherwise, it would not have twisted 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.”