PHCN Claims Property Forfeited By Cecilia Ibru

Five staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) on Wednesday urged the Appeal Court in Lagos to halt their ejection from a PHCN property forfeited to the federal government by former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru.

The workers, in a notice of appeal, faulted Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court in Lagos for refusing to vacate his earlier order granting leave to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to take over the property.

Mrs. Ibru forfeited N191 billion worth of assets to the federal government as part of the plea-bargain arrangement following her conviction over corrupt practices in the bank.

AMCON had on March 6, 2013 forcefully ejected the PHCN workers from the property, which is located at 5A George Street, Ikoyi Lagos.

The PHCN workers, through their lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), had urged Justice Okeke to vacate the order on the ground that it was obtained by AMCON through fraud and suppression of material fact.

Mr. Falana had contended that the said property allegedly acquired by Mrs. Ibru, was at all times, the property of PHCN and so, Mrs Ibru had no right to forfeit the property to the federal government.

The workers are: Afolabi Dada, Charles Amadi, Lawan Muhammad, Comfort Odili-Iwuafor and Anthony Abikoye.

But Justice Okeke refused to vacate the order, saying it had already been executed, and as such he could not undue a completed act.

Dissatisfied, Mr. Falana and the plaintiffs approached the Appeal Court where they stressed that Justice Okeke erred in law, because there were exhibits before him to show that the ejection order was obtained by fraud.

Claiming that there were three pending suits on the subject matter, Mr. Falana urged the appellate court to stay further execution of the order, and also restrain AMCON and Deputy Sheriff of the Federal High Court from demolishing the property.

Prior to the filing of the appeal, Mr. Falana had also filed a motion before the lower court seeking for leave to appeal against the ruling and stay of execution.

AMCON’s alleged fraud

Mr. Falana, while arguing the motion for vacation of the ejection order, had told Justice Okeke that AMCON acted fraudulently when it obtained a court order which granted it leave to seal up the plaintiffs’ premises.

He also argued that while the ownership of the said property was still the subject of a pending litigation before the court, involving AMCON, the respondent had gone behind closed doors to obtain an order to levy execution on the property.

He told the court that in 2010, when a forfeiture order was made by Justice Daniel Abutu, to relinquish the said property to AMCON, the applicant filed a similar suit, seeking to set aside that forfeiture order.

Mr. Falana argued that despite AMCON’s knowledge of the pending suit before the court, it still went ahead to obtain an order to seal up the premises.

He told the court that the act of the respondent was fraudulent and should be set aside.

AMCON’s lawyer, Felix Azu (SAN) while responding to Mr. Falana’s argument, stressed that when the order for forfeiture was made, the applicants neither appealed the decision nor applied for a stay of execution of the order.

Mr. Azu said that by their inaction, they had represented that they had no intention to challenge the order.

He said that although the applicants had filed a suit to set aside the order made by Justice Abutu, the respondent was privy to that suit as no appeal had been made against the positive order of the court granted them.

Babalakin lied; He Owes AMCON N60 Billion – Agbakoba

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) says companies linked to businessman, Wale Babalakin currently owed the Corporation over N60 billion.

The Chairman of Bi-Courtney Nigeria Limited, Wale Babalakin

AMCON’s lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba, who disclosed this at a press conference in Lagos, said Mr Babalakin’s insolvency arose due to the loans granted his companies by First Bank and Guaranteed Trust Bank (GTBank), which currently remain unpaid.

The AMCON lawyer presented documents at the press conference to buttress his claims.

He advised Mr Babalakin to drop the litigation option and return to AMCON for negotiation.

“The most convenient way out of the dispute was for Babalakin to approach AMCON and seek the structuring of his debt,” he said.

Mr Agbakoba queried the B-Courtney’s boss’ decision to repossess the property on 43A, Afribank Street, Victoria Island, which was shut last Friday by court bailiffs upon an ex-parte order made on February 5 by Justice Chukwujeckwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

He said, “He (Babalakin) got loans from First Bank and GTBank. He has not been able to service the loans. He is fighting a battle that he cannot win. He should come to AMCON for settlement.

“I challenge him today, if he comes to AMCON, we will be ready to welcome him. If he comes today, he will be shocked because of the terms he will get. AMCON is not out to kill businesses. Its aim is to help businesses resolve the problem created by debt” he said.

He challenged Mr Babalakin to approach AMCON with evidence of his claim that the Federal Government owes him N132 billion by virtue of a March 3, 2009 judgment and other information.

“My advice for my friend, Babalakin is that he should pay his debt or come to AMCON and negotiate with these facts that he said he has. If this judgment is true, let him come to AMCON with it. Let him call me. I will take him to AMCON and the whole thing will be resolved. Others have done so before. So, he will not be the only one to ask for the restructuring of his loan,” Mr Agbakoba said.

Mr Babalakin had on Monday said his company, Bi-Courtney is not indebted to AMCON or any Federal Agency, neither was its office property mortgaged to any bank.

He had exhibited a court order dated the 5 April 2012 which shows that Bi-Courtney has a judgment credit of N132 billion in its favour, with the court directing that any debts to the federal government should be deducted from the amount.

Moghalu on Nigeria’s Financial System Stability

Despite a reported N2.37 trillion loss for the year 2012, the Deputy Governor, Financial Systems, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu, has explained how the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has helped to enhance the nation’s financial system stability.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television weekend breakfast show; Sunrise, Mr Moghalu explained how AMCON which he described as a ‘Bad bank’ was set up to above the bad debts of banks that were rescued in 2009.

He further explained that all the nation’s banks are currently contributing a portion of the annual profits to a sinking fund that will offset AMCON’s acquired debts.




AMCON Vacates Capital Oil Premises

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has withdrawn from the premises of Capital Oil and Gas Limited.

In a statement sent to Channels Television on Wednesday, the managing director of AMCON, Mr Mustafa Chike-Obi, stated that the corporation decided to vacate the premises of the oil firm owing to overriding public interest.

Mr Chike-Obi added that AMCON will allow Capital Oil resume operations to allow for more fuel supply ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Capital Oil and AMCON have been embroiled in a legal battle over unpaid debt to AMCON which the corporation says is worth N65 billion.

Recently, a high court in Abuja ordered AMCON to vacate the premises of Capital Oil, but the order was immediately appealed by the AMCON and it maintained its presence at the oil firm’s premises.

AMCON’s Boss Vows To Recover Its N2.3 Trillion Loss

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) says it will recover most of the losses it reported in its 2011 financials totaling N2.3 trillion.

In an interview with Channels Television today, the chief executive of the corporation, Mr Mustafa Chike-Obi stated further that the loss was expected, owing to the huge amount of funds pumped into the banks that were rescued in the 2009 financial crisis.

He added that contributions made by the commercial banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) into AMCON’s sinking fund, will improve the corporation’s balance sheet for the 2012 financial year.

AMCON, last week reported a N2.37 trillion loss after tax, three years after it was set up to absorb the bad debts of banks in the aftermath of a financial crisis.

CBN revises guideline to access the power and airline intervention funds

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released a revised guideline for the Power and Airline Intervention funds.

In the revised document, the refinancing of existing loans for projects under the power and airline intervention fund for corporate entities that are not power companies will only be approved, if the investments are not older than two years from the date of the application.

In a circular released on Friday, the apex bank explained that such restriction would not be applicable to captive power projects implemented and managed by power companies.

Gas-to-power promoters must also tender verifiable evidence of purchase agreements for their projects to be eligible.

The guidelines state that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), by special approval of the CBN may be allowed to participate in the fund with respect to acquired projects of national economic importance.

In a bid to catalyse the financing of the real sector of the economy, the central bank had, in accordance with Section 31 of the CBN Act 2007, approved the investment of the sum of N500 billion debenture stock issued by the Bank of Industry.

The sum of N200 billion was then set aside for the refinancing/restructuring of small and medium enterprises/ manufacturing portfolios while N300 billion was set aside for power and airline projects.