Osinbajo Inaugurates ICPC Boss, Others To Recover N5trn AMCON Debt

Yemi Osinbajo                                                                                                                     Bolaji Owasanoye

 

 

The Federal Government says it has taken another determined step in its bid to recover over N5 trillion outstanding debts owed the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

This comes as the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, formally inaugurated an inter-agency committee to speedily resolve the challenges in recovering the debts.

“One of the Terms of Reference is for the Committee to prepare a report, giving us a sense of what the timelines would be,” Osinbajo was quoted as saying in a statement on Tuesday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande.

At the inauguration ceremony which held on Monday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Vice President tasked members of the committee to turn the tide in what has been a rather difficult process where debtors have continued to default on their payment obligations.

About 67 per cent of the outstanding N5tn debt is said to be owed by just 20 individuals and entities.

Professor Osinbajo expressed confidence in the expertise of the team, chaired by the Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, to carry out the task ahead.

Following the challenges encountered from the debt-recovery processes and the very limited results so far, he asked the committee to consider other options, including taking enforcement measures in actually recovering the debts.

“I congratulate you on the very onerous task that has been set, to render this service.

“I know that, given the kind of individuals here, you will definitely turn this whole narrative around. So, I wish you all very well,” said the Vice President.

In his remarks, Professor Owasanoye thanked Professor Osinbajo for the confidence reposed in the team, stating that members would do their best to recover most of the debts.

Members of the committee include heads and representatives of AMCON, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

Others are drawn from the ICPC, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), and the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The team, among other related tasks, is expected to review the status of debts owed to AMCON and deliberate on practical, legal and other strategies for the recovery of the outstanding debts.

It is also asked to prepare a report which will include a debt recovery work plan with specific timelines for completion.

Duke Settles N537m Debt With AMCON

Election Postponement Is "A Legal Coup", Says Duke
A file photo of Mr Donald Duke.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has discharged the order granted the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON to take over the Ikoyi property of former Governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke over a debt of N537.3m.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo discharged the order today based on the settlement terms filed and moved by AMCON’s legal team.

Mrs Juliet Benson representing AMCON told the court that the former Governor had fulfilled the terms of the settlement of the debt and both parties have agreed.

She then urged Justice Oweibo to adopt the terms of settlement as the judgement of the court.

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Counsel to Donald Duke, Edoigiawerie Uyi confirmed to the court that his client has shown good faith by promptly making a payment of over N350m in settlement of the outstanding debt, a payment which parties all agreed to.

He also urged Justice Oweibo to enter the terms of settlement as the full and final judgement of the court.

In his short ruling, the court granted the terms of the settlement and entered it as full and final judgement.

The judge also ruled that all orders in the case stand discharged.

On the 8th of August, the Court had granted an interim order to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON and United Bank for Africa to take possession of a property in the Ikoyi area said to have been mortgaged by a former governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke, over an alleged debt owed the two organizations.

AMCON To Partner With ICPC In Recovering FG’s N4.9trn Assets

 

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) is partnering with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to recover of assets worth trillions of naira from entities owing the government of Nigeria.

The decision to forge this collaboration emerged during a courtesy visit by AMCON‘s management to ICPC headquarters in Abuja recently.

The AMCON Chairman, Dr. Muiz Banire, while speaking during the visit revealed that debts worth N4.9tr were being owed the government by numerous entities, and as such, they were in the Commission to partner with it in order to “rescue the system from impending disaster by recovering the outstanding indebtedness”.

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He said, “out of 12,000 accounts in AMCON, 350 entities owed 80% of the N4.9 trillion and the corporation is concerned that it is unable to recover the money, while its lifespan is limited”.

He explained that AMCON was faced with the daunting task of the recovery of government assets but expressed optimism that partnership with ICPC would help in no small measure to alleviate some of the challenges often encountered in recovery.

In his response, ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, expressed his appreciation to the team on the request for collaboration and pledged the Commission’s commitment to partnering with AMCON to achieve its mandate of assets recovery which incidentally was also an important part of ICPC’s work.

He promised that the Commission would set up a task team to put the partnership into effect and that many fraudulent transactions that had taken place would be unraveled and resolved.

Professor Owasanoye further explained to the visitors that ICPC’s three-pronged mandate of enforcement, prevention, education, and public enlightenment placed the Commission in a good position to fight systemic and endemic corruption.

AMCON To Commence Process Of Polaris Bank Sale After Elections

 

The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has said that it will commence the process for the sale of Polaris Bank, after the general elections.

Spokesman for AMCON, Jude Nwazor, said that the corporation will advertise for investors to express their interest which will help the process of the sales after the election.

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According to the spokesman, the corporation is seeking to recover non-performing debts owed to Polaris Bank and has asked for proposals on repayment.

Polaris bank was set up in 2018 to take over the assets of Skye Bank PLC, which collapsed and had its operating licence revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

N786 billion had been injected into the bank through the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to ensure the bank is sound and profitable.

AMCON Loses Bid To Takeover Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi

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File photo

 

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, (AMCON) has lost its bid to take over the land and property known as the Federal Secretariat Complex, in Ikoyi Lagos.

Justice Ibrahim Buba in a judgment delivered at the Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos on Wednesday, reiterated that the Federal Government of Nigeria and it’s agencies are bound to recognize an arbitral award rendered in Dec 2015, on the issue.

AMCON had sued businessman, Wale Babalakin, and his company, Resort International Ltd in Nov 2012 to seek an order for the repayment of a sum of N21bn which it claimed comprised principal sum and accrued interest on various loan facilities allegedly granted to them.

This had stalled development on the property known as the Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi.

Apart from seeking to take over the Federal Secretariat, AMCON had also sought an order of the court granting it the power of sale or disposal of a parcel of land known as Alma Beach property, and all the fuel hydrant tanks situated at the Domestic Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, owned by Wale Babalakin and allegedly given as security for the debt.

But in a counter-claim, Babalakin and his company contended that they are not indebted to AMCON but rather, a four billion Naira facility offered to the company is an equity contribution which was wrongly classified as a loan.

They, therefore, asked the court to set aside the purported loan for being inconsistent with the provisions of the AMCON Act (2010) as amended and the CBN guideline for the operations of AMCON and to declare same as illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

Mr Babalakin also contended that the publication of his name and that of other Directors of the company by AMCON in “a list of delinquent debtors” in relation to loan facilities is libelous and an affront to the judicial powers of the Court already saddled with deciding the case.

Justice Buba in his judgment today agreed with these arguments and dismissed the claims of the Federal Government and AMCON.

The court also awarded three billion naira in Babalakin’s favour for the libelous publication and ordered the Federal Government and AMCON to publish a full and complete retraction and apology to Babalakin and his company in three national dailies.

PHOTOS: EFCC Assures AMCON Of Support On Asset Recovery

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has assured the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) of its support in its drive to recover toxic assets.

The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, gave the assurance on Thursday when he received the Managing Director of AMCON, Mr Ahmed Kuru, at his office in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The EFCC boss said: “It is in the interest of this country that we support you and work with AMCON”.

See photos below:

PHOTOS: EFCC Assures AMCON Of Support On Asset Recovery
Photo source: Facebook// @officialefcc

AMCON Takes Over Properties In Lagos, Ogun Over N4.68bn Debt

Arik Air To Go To Court Over TakeoverThe Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria today took possession of some multi-billion naira properties in Lagos and Ogun states from three property firms and eight others due to an alleged N4.68bn bank debt.

The assets including land, houses, cars and generators were seized in execution of a Federal High Court order authorising the receiver/manager, Lanre Olaoluwa, to take possession pending the determination of the suit.

AMCON obtained the court orders against 11 respondents, including Havilah Villas Limited, Grant Properties Limited, and one Rev. Olajide Awosedo.

The properties include 14 hectares of land and buildings at Victory Park Estate, Igbokushu, and Goshen Beach Estate, both in Lekki.

They also included land at River View Estate, Isheri, Ogun State and a residential estate at Okun Owa in Odogbolu Local Government Area also in Ogun State.

According to AMCON, it acquired the N4.68bn non-performing loan that Havilah Villas Limited secured in 2006 from the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank), by a Loan Purchase and Limited Servicing Agreement.

AMCON said it also advanced a further loan of N300 million to Havilah Villas Limited. Both loans have so far not been settled by the debtors.

Considering the effect of the huge indebtedness on the economy, AMCON wants the public and all financial institutions to refrain from any prejudicial dealings in respect of the properties and other assets of the respondent as any breach may constitute contempt of Court and be punishable as such.

AMCON To Sell Peugeot To Dangote, Two States

Arik Air To Go To Court Over TakeoverThe Asset Management Company of Nigeria says it is close to selling Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Ltd to Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, and two Nigerian states.

AMCON’s Chief Executive, Ahmed Kuru, told Reuters that all processes on the bids were completed about two months ago and all that is left is the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Dangote, in alliance with the states of Kaduna and Kebbi and the Bank of Industry, made a bid to acquire a majority stake in PAN last year after AMCON moved to sell off some of the assets it acquired in the wake of the banking crisis.

The automaker is worth over N15 billion.

Peugeot Automobile, a Nigerian vehicle assembly plant located in Kaduna State, has Psa Peugeot Citroen as its technical partner with a capacity to assemble 90,000 cars a year.

Arik Air Takeover: Court Fixes May 15 For Ruling

Arik Air Takeover: Court Fixes May 15 For RulingThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed for May 15, its ruling on two preliminary objections arising from the takeover of Arik Air Limited by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

The Corporation had on February 8, 2017 announced that it had taken over Arik Air Limited.

AMCON said the step was taken to save the airline from collapse and in the best interest of the general public, workers, creditors and other interest groups in the aviation sector.

A legal practitioner, Mr Oluseye Opasanya, was then appointed as the Receiver Manager of Arik Air Limited, following its takeover by AMCON.

By an ex parte application on February 8, AMCON secured an injunction restraining the airline’s “shareholders, directors, creditors, managers, officers, employees, servants, consultants, agents, representatives (and) privies” from interfering with Mr Opasanya’s power to manage Arik Air.

However, four persons who were aggrieved by the court order – Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, Chris Ndule, Dr. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide and Sangowawa Olubiyi – filed a preliminary objection through their lawyer, Mr Babajide Koku.

They accused Mr Opasanya and the lawyer representing AMCON, Professor Koyinsola Ajayi, of engaging in professional misconduct and urged the court to void all the processes so far filed by Professor Ajayi on behalf of the Corporation and Mr Opasanya.

The grounds of their objection was that Ajayi and Opasanya are both lawyers practising in the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP.

Mr Koku argued that by virtue of Rule 17 of Professional Conduct of Legal Practitioners 2007, neither Ajayi nor any other lawyer from the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP could appear in a case where Opasanya was a plaintiff.

Opposing the preliminary objection, Ajayi stated that there was a distinction between Opasanya and the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP where Opasanya works, and that there was no law stopping anyone from the law firm from representing Opasanya.

He also filed a preliminary objection challenging the locus standi of Koku’s clients to file the preliminary objection.

Professor Ajayi argued that they were not parties in the suit in question which AMCON and Opasanya filed against Arik Air and the Inspector General of Police.

He described them as interlopers who should not be heard and urged Justice Mohammed Idris who is hearing the case to dismiss the preliminary objection by Koku’s clients.

After hearing both preliminary objections on Friday, Justice Idris adjourned till May 15, 2017 for his ruling.

Arik Air Take Over Is A Timely Intervention – AMCON

arik airThe Asset Management Corporation Of Nigeria (AMCON), has described the Federal Government’s take over of operations of Arik Airline as a timely intervention.

The Corporate Communications Department of the agency, revealed in a statement that the company has been immersed in heavy financial debt burden that was threatening to permanently ground the airline.

“For some time now, the airline, which carries about 55% of the load in the country, has been going through difficult times that are attributable to its bad corporate governance, erratic operational challenges, inability to pay staff salaries and heavy debt burden among other issues, which led to the call for authorities in the country to intervene before Arik goes under like many before it.

“The move, which clearly underscores government’s decision to instill sanity in the nation’s aviation sector has also prevented a major catastrophe that would among other factors protect, and preserve Arik Airlines as a going concern.

“The development will afford Arik Airlines, which is the largest local carrier to go back to regular and undisrupted operations, avoid job losses, protect investors and stakeholder funds as well as ensure safety and stability in the already challenged aviation sector.”

AMCON further revealed that the airline recently suspended its flight operations to the John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, United States, claiming that the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft dedicated to the route have been taken to France for C check at the same time.

“Equally more than eight aircraft are currently grounded at the tarmac making it difficult to meet their routine commercial flights.

“The myriad of issues confronting Arik Air of late ranges from confiscation of aircraft due to non-payment of leases, frequent flight delays, constant fracas between Arik Staff and irate passengers at both local and international airports etc.

“During the last yuletide, passengers were stranded in airports all over the country due to Arik’s incessant flight delays and cancellations, which negatively affected the preference they enjoy from passengers. You are all living examples of this.

“The airline is so overwhelmed to the extent that the workers’ wages are not paid for several months, leading to occasional confrontation between the management of Arik and different Aviation Unions in the country.

“It was Arik’s inability to pay its workers for seven months that forced the United Labour Congress (ULC) and Engineers Union to recently shut the offices of the Airline across the country causing untold hardship to thousands of travelers and an embarrassment to the aviation sector in the country.

“Besides owing workers’ salaries, the Airline has also not been remitting the taxes of workers to relevant bodies thus also defrauding the country.

“The Airline is also in perpetual default in its lease payments and insurance premium, leading to regular and embarrassing repossession of its aircraft by lessors. Various class actions are pending against the airline all over the world.

“We assure all stakeholders that the intervention is in the best interest of the general public, workers, creditors and other aviation interest groups,” the statement read.

Arik airline would now be managed by Capt. Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, a veteran aviation expert under the receivership of Mr Oluseye Opasanya, SAN.

Government Takes Over Arik Airline

Arik Air Operations Grounded Over Union Protest The Federal Government has taken over Arik Airline, which has been experiencing difficulties in recent times.

According to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), the decision to intervene “clearly underscores the government’s commitment to instilling sanity in the country’s aviation sector and prevent a major catastrophe.

The airline will now be managed by Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, an aviation expert, under Mr Oluseye Opasanya, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika expressed the belief that the development will bring about stability in the airline.

“We believe that this appointment is timely and will stabilize the operations of the airline. This will enhance the long term economic value of Arik Air and revitalize the airline’s ailing operations as well as sustain safety standards, in view of Arik Air’s pivotal role in the Nigerian aviation sector.”

The Minister further pledged that the Federal Ministry of Aviation would support the new management of the strategic carrier adding that all necessary steps have been taken to ensure that there would be no undue disruption on Arik’s regular business operations or activities of other stakeholders, on account of the recent changes its leadership and management.

In the same vein, Capt. Ilegbodu, under the receivership of Opasanya, has also assured both staff of the troubled airline and all other stakeholders that his appointment at Arik would among other objectives enhance the value of Arik, improve customer experience, and sustain the safety, reliable and secure operational history of the airline before all those were eroded.

DMO Sets 2017 Debt Limit For FG

Debt Management Office - DMO Sets 2017 Debt Limit For FGThe Debt Management Office has fixed the maximum limit for the federal government’s domestic and external borrowing at 22.08 billion dollars for the 2017 fiscal year.

This is part of policy recommendations of the Debt Management Office contained in its 2016 report of the annual national debt sustainability analysis.

According to the management office, new domestic borrowing has been pegged at 5.52 billion dollars, while new external borrowing is put at 16.56 billion for 2017.

The report explains that, the present value of ‘total public debt to GDP’ ratio for 2016 for the federal government is projected at 13.5 percent with an available borrowing space of 5.89 percent of the estimated GDP of 374.95 billion dollars for 2017.

The management office also recommends that government should explore other alternative and viable sources of financing for the country’s huge infrastructure requirements.