N4.4tr Exposure: Kuru Submits Top 1,000 AMCON Debtors List To NASS

Photo caption: Executive management of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), led by Ahmed Lawan Kuru, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, as well as Dr. Eberechukwu Uneze and Aminu Ismail, both Executive Directors exchanging pleasantries during the presentation of the to 1,000 AMCON debtors to the House Committee in Lagos…Thursday, November 18, 2021.

In another deft strategy to intensify its debt recovery drive, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), last week, submitted a list containing its top 1,000 obligors to the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency during the committee’s retreat in Lagos.

AMCON handed the list over just a few hours after President Muhammadu Buhari also signed into law, an amendment to the AMCON Act No.4, 2010, providing for the extension of the tenor of the Resolution Cost Fund (RCF). The amended law also grants access to the Special Tribunal established by the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act 2020, which confers on AMCON the power to, among others, “take possession, manage, foreclose or sell, transfer, assign or otherwise deal with the asset or property used as security for Eligible Bank Assets (EBAs), and related matters.’’

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency, Victor Nwokolo, representing Ika Northeast/Ika South Constituency in the 9th National Assembly, while receiving the list of recalcitrant AMCON obligors from the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the corporation, Ahmed Lawan Kuru, said the committee requested for the list to enable the National Assembly to know those holding the country to ransom. This, he continued, would enable them to meet with relevant agencies of the Federal Government on how to further deal with the debtors and ensure that AMCON realised its mandate in the overall interest of the nation’s economy.

Nwokolo, while commending the commitment of the Kuru-led management, said AMCON has been operating under very difficult conditions since its establishment, made worse by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak, which practically shut economies down.

He said the ensuing harsh economic realities meant that the recovery assignment AMCON is doing for the country has been further compounded, which is why the National Assembly is looking at ways to further support the recovery drive of AMCON.

Nwokolo who further disclosed that the National Assembly is considering punitive measures to deal with those on the top 1,000 AMCON debtors’ list, however, said he was happy that President Muhammadu Buhari has just signed the Amended AMCON Act into Law. The amendment, he noted, will help AMCON recover the huge outstanding debt while ensuring that the aim of the Federal Government of Nigeria in setting up AMCON in 2010 is not defeated.

While soliciting the committee’s continued support earlier, Kuru who presented the list, said for to AMCON succeed in its national call to duty, he noted the need for judges to fast-track cases before them and issue certificates of judgement on properties.

Notwithstanding the tremendous support received from the judiciary, Kuru said the success or otherwise of AMCON in the delivery of its mandate today given its over 4,000 cases in various courts, is heavily dependent on the nation’s judiciary. Among challenges militating against the corporation’s efforts, he said, including unperfected title documents of some properties from Eligible Financial Institutions (EFIs), which often prevent or elongate the completion of the sale of some of the assets. There is also the general market perception that AMCON assets are distressed, following which buyers demand deeply discounted prices, lamenting that the basis for the pricing of EBA’s at the point of purchase was the valuation of the assets, just to mention a few.

Kuru added that more recently, due to the socio-economic downturn, the market values of assets have significantly dropped lower than the valuation at the point of EBAs’ purchase, making it extremely difficult to consummate sales transactions. With the support of the National Assembly and the judiciary, Kuru argued that recovering the total current exposure on all EBAs, at N4.4tr may be possible before the sunset period.

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