N5tr debt: AMCON mulls bankruptcy tag on debtors
THE Asset Management corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) may declare recalcitrant debtors bankrupt based on advice from Senior Partner, Olaniwun Ajayi -LP, Muyiwa Balogun to the agency.
The legal consultant had challenged AMCON and Judges of the Federal High Court of Nigeria (FHC) to leverage the 2019 Amended AMCON Act and declare AMCON obligors who are holding public office bankrupt.
The new 2019 Amended AMCON Act, which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari provided AMCON with sweeping powers, which is intended to help AMCON recover a huge debt of over N5 trillion owed the corporation by obligors as a result of AMCON intervention in the banking sector. AMCON was created in 2010 as a result of the global economic crises of 2008/2009, which nearly cripples the financial sector of Nigeria.
Speaking at a one-day Seminar for Judges of the FHC in Abuja he argued that the only alternative to the recovery challenge was for the judges of the FHC to take the matter as a national assignment and explore all the powers of the new amendment.
In attendance at the seminar were the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, officials of the National Judicial Institute (NJI), the management of AMCON and officials of Legal Academy. Balogun said the Judges of the FHC, which incidentally is AMCON’s court of first instance should as a matter of fact support the corporation to explore the bankruptcy proceedings as provided by the amendment, which he said will at least make it possible for AMCON to rubbish its debtors that are holding public office as persons of no integrity and so cannot hold such office.
According to him, “Once you are declared bankrupt, you cannot hold public office. Today, we have AMCON debtors making laws for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. AMCON with your support, needs to go to court and declare such individuals bankrupt. Given the sunset period of AMCON and the fact that the debt we are talking about is the commonwealth of Nigeria, it would not be out of place to take the full advantage of the bankruptcy power among other special powers in the new amendment.”
AMCON’s Managing Director, Ahmed Kuru, said even though obligors of AMCON have been working hard to stretch AMCON to the sunset period, the corporation, under his leadership is determined to achieve its mandate within the limited time available and within the law. The amendment, he stated can only be as effective as the judiciary pronounces on its provisions within the interpretative powers vested by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
Written by Collins Nweze, published on The Nation