Recalcitrant Debtors Now Use 3rd Parties To Mask Assets, AMCON Cries Out

Recovers N1.6tr Debt In 10 Years
Says Over 84% Of Total Owed By 350 Obligors

Caption: From left, Hon. Justice Ayokunle Faji, of the Federal High Court; Managing Director/CEO Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Ahmed Lawan Kuru; and Dr Eberechukwu Uneze, an Executive Director at AMCON during the training.

The Asset Management Cor­poration of Nigeria (AMCON), on Tuesday, lamented the activities of recalcitrant debtors it said have found new tricks of masking assets traced to them by presenting third parties as the real owners.
According to Ahmed Lawan Kuru, Chief Executive of AMCON, such recalcitrant obligors, who have mastered the act of clinging to the tech­nicalities, rather than settle their established obligations in collusion with the third parties thereafter files “for the order of court to be set aside.”
Kuru who spoke at the ongoing annual training for judicial officers of the Fed­eral High Court, in London, United Kingdom, urged their lordships to kindly be wary of such characters, noting that AMCON is struggling with very recalcitrant obligors, adding that “to date the cor­poration has made recoveries of about N1.6 trillion, which include recoveries in cash and in sale of assets…
“Out of total of N4.664 tril­lion, we have so far recovered about N1.6 trillion in the more than 10 years of our existence. We still have a long way to go! About 350 obligors account for N3.957 trillion, which is above 84% of total outstanding amount. Our debt is in the bal­ance sheet of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and therefore a threat to the economy.
“After recovery and disposal, funds are paid directly into our CBN account. Recovery and disposal of assets have so far contributed about N1.6 trillion towards settling our obligation. Accordingly, we would not get tired of appealing to Your Lord­ships for more understanding and collaboration towards the achievement of this national assignment,” Kuru submitted.
Continuing, he stressed: “We cannot over-flog the im­portant role the judiciary plays in national development and as such Your Lordships remain vital to the success of AMCON. We still have many cases pending with the var­ious divisions of the courts. These matters are very vital to the success of the corporation and particularly as we know that if we are unable to resolve them, it becomes a burden on our country’s debt profile and taxpayer’s money. Despite the achievements made, with the tremendous support of Your Lordships, we are still strong­ly battling with our debt recov­ery activities. It is very difficult, particularly given our peculiar situation.”
Speaking earlier at the event, Justice John T. Tsoho, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, lauded the vital role of the corporation and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), describing them as two indispensable agencies of the Federal Government, for the stability of Nigeria’s finan­cial system and economy.
Justice Tsoho, in his wel­come address at the training declared open on Monday by the High Commissioner for Nigeria in the UK, Sarafa Tun­ji Isola, said it was because of the critical and strategic roles AMCON and NFIU play in the growth of the Nigerian econo­my that their chief executives and top officials were invited by the Federal High Court to participate in the training, es­pecially as the judicial system is seen as the bedrock of any civilised society.

Caption: From left, Managing Director/CEO Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Ahmed Lawan Kuru; Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola, the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK); Hon. Justice John T. Tsoho, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, and the Director and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, Modibbo R. Hamman Tukur, at opening of the training at Holiday Inn Hotel, Kensington, West London.

According to him, “An effec­tive judicial system is the bed­rock of any civilised society. Thus, it is necessary to equip ourselves with the inherent skills for effectual macro and micro economic adjudication in the virtual era. Increased online transactions with ac­companying economic value will trigger diverse legal issues. Therefore, the court must be prepared for this nascent tech­nology. I am committed to the sustenance of trainings that will make the Judges of the Fed­eral High Court withstand this contemporary legal challenge.
“This training must be con­sidered as an integral compo­nent of our judicial duties. The executive must ensure that the welfare of judges, which in­cludes training, is paramount in its policies, while notwith­standing the autonomy of the judiciary as an arm of gov­ernment. In our 2019 Interna­tional Training in Dubai and the United States of America, our court accommodated AM­CON and the FCCPC. In 2021, we integrated AMCON to our programme in Cairo. This year, we extended a window of par­ticipation to AMCON and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).”
“These institutions are indispensable to the stability of the financial system and the economy pursuant to the catalytic role they play. While AMCON has offloaded toxic assets of Banks, NFIU ensures that all funds and assets as well as securities circulating within our system are clean. I have carefully considered their interest to share their thoughts with us today and have accordingly welcomed them,” the Chief Judge stressed further.
Speaking at the training facilitated by the Dr Fatihu Abba-led Legal Academy, the CEO of AMCON, described the opportunity extended to AMCON as golden because it offers the corporation a platform to once again present its case, refresh memories, highlight the institution’s challenges, emphasis the nature of its national assignment and the challenges of its sunset date.

Caption: Group photograph of the Judges and all participants at the training programme.
Most importantly, Kuru added that forums such as this helps AMCON to get feedbacks that helps it perform better, assuring that “with the help of the Judiciary AMCON has been able to make notable progress especially in enforcement. Granting of Exparte Orders as well as Orders to attach traced assets have compelled most recalcitrant obligors of AMCON to come to the negotiation table.
A statement signed by Mr Jude Nwauzor, Head of Corporate Communications Department at AMCON said the Group Head, Enforcement of AMCON, Mr Joshua Ikioda, as well as AMCON Consultant, Mr. Muyiwa Balogun of Olaniwun Ajayi Legal Practitioners in two separate presentations brought to the fore the need for continuous collaboration between AMCON, the judiciary and indeed all sister agencies of the federal government at this time of Nigeria’s history.
Culled from