The Court of Appeal Lagos State Division has dismissed an appeal brought by Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, a Senator-elect and chairman of Global Fleet Group, challenging the seizure of 12 assets by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), and freezing of all his bank accounts over an alleged N69.4bnb debt.
The judges upheld the arguments of AMCON’s lead counsel Kemi Pinheiro, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), praying the court to dismiss the application by Ibrahim (first defendant) and his company (second defendant) also represented by two Senior Advocates, Niyi Akintola and Bolaji Ayorinde, respectively.
Buoyed by the latest Appeal Court ruling, the corporation said in a statement that no matter the class or personality of the obligor, it will not be deterred by the “antics of some high-profile but recalcitrant debtors in the interest of the Nigerian economy and the good people of Nigeria.”
The statement assured that the corporation will continue to go about its mandate as expected of the Corporation guided by the AMCON Act as amended.
Recall that responding to the order of Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos, issued on November 18, 2020, AMCON took possession of all 12 properties through its Debt Recovery Agent – Pinheiro Legal Partners. The assets include the building of NICON Investment Limited at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja; NICON Hotels Limited building at Plot 557, Port-Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street, Abuja, and the building of NICON Lekki Limited also at No. 5, Customs Street, Lagos.
Other properties that were taken over by AMCON include the building of Abuja International Hotels Limited located at No. 3, Hospital Road, Lagos; another property at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Abuja; the former Allied Bank Building on Mile 2, Oshodi Expressway, Lagos; Energy House located on No. 94, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; NICON Building at No. 40, Madeira Street, Maitama, Abuja; a residential apartment at Road 2, House A14, Victoria Garden City, Lagos; NICON Hotels building at Plot 3, Road 3, Victoria Garden City, Lagos, as well as the NICON Luxury Hotel building, Garki 1, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
In addition to the takeover, the lower court also ordered the freezing of all accounts belonging to Ibrahim and his companies, including Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited, and NICON Investment Limited all of whom were defendants in the protracted suit No. FHL/L/CL/776/2016.
A statement by AMCON recalled that when it first recorded victory at the lower court, Jude Nwauzor, it Head of Corporate Communications Department, had described the judgement as “another victory for AMCON and its debt recovery drive in the country as a debt recovery agency of the federal government of Nigeria. While hinting at the time that the appeal by the obligor cannot stand at the Court of Appeal, he added that the implication is that AMCON would remain in possession of all the properties attached by the orders of the court.”