Written by Sarah NEGEDU

AMCON set to recover N5trn debts

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, has approached the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to seek ways of recovering the N5trillion it’s being owed.

According to the corporation, 350 individuals accounted for 80 percent of the entire debt currently being owned the agency.

The board chairman of AMCON, Dr Muiz Banire, stated this when he led a delegation to the ICPC.

Banire, who led the delegation, highlighted some of the high-profile obligors of the corporation.

He said AMCON would at the current time in its lifespan, need collaboration of the ICPC to go after the debtors, especially since AMCON on its own did not have the powers to invite, arrest or prosecute debtors as the only option open to AMCON remained the court.

Reacting, the chairman of the ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, described the huge debt profile of AMCON as sobering, especially as the figure represented about 50 percent of Nigeria’s 2019 budget.

Owasanoye said the situation had become existential challenge for the country, since the few people who were holding the country to ransom were still walking free and waxing strong in the society.

Considering the positive impact the funds would have in the economy if recovered, Owasanoye said the time had come for the ICPC and other relevant sister agencies to partner AMCON and support the debt recovery drive.

He pledged that the ICPC under his leadership was ready to work with the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, AMCON, Ahmed Kuru, and the board members to recover as much of these debts as possible before sunset.

Recalling that the Vice- President, Prof. Yomi Osinbajo, had also raised concerns over the huge debt in a similar forum, the ICPC chairman said, the commission would be interested in tracing the transactional history of the different loans, especially the high profile ones with a view to establishing any irregularity, which could have contributed to its hard-core nature, with obligors refusing to pay.

He said, “We have to be practical in our approach. Something needs to be done and very fast too given the approaching AMCON’s sunset, because this is public funds we are talking about here.

“We need AMCON and ICPC to work closer and develop a strategy that would work. We need the public to know the opportunity cost of the huge debt to the Nigerian economy; we need to share information as sister agencies locally and internationally and treat this matter as a last lap race by setting up a joint taskforce to deal with this sobering issue.”

 

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