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Babalakin, Ubah, Kashamu, 17 Others See N5 Trillion Debts As ‘National Cake’ -AMCON

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The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria says the top 20 debtors who owe over 67 percent of the N5 trillion debt the corporation is seeking to recover as ‘national cake’.

The Chairman, AMCON, Muiz Banire, recently revealed that the corporation’s top 20 debtors owe 67 percent of the N5 trillion debt owed.

Head of Corporate Affairs, AMCON, Jude Nwauzor, told PUNCH that AMCON had established that the major debtors did not want to pay.

He said, “These 20 persons owe almost N4 trillion. We have several thousand accounts in our kitty and just like when you do your scale of preference when we arrange it, there are top 20, 50, 100, and it moves on in that order.

“So what the chairman of AMCON talked about was that if we are able to resolve these 20, we would have done over 60 percent of the total obligation, which, of course, is massive.

“We can only imagine what N5 trillion can do to a country where the government is borrowing to fund the budget.

“There are individuals in this country who hold on to this money and it is not that they don’t have the wherewithal to pay, but they just don’t want to pay because, for them, it is ‘national cake’. But this is taxpayers’ money. Some workers have died because of these people. Some institutions have been crippled because of them. The economy is also suffering because of them.”

On why the corporation had not fully gone public to announce the debtors, Nwauzor stated that it was because some of them had cases with AMCON in court.

He said, “We are not just trying to identify these people; they are people we know and on several occasions, our chairman had at one point or the other mentioned their names.

“Most of these obligors are also in court with us, which is why you can’t just go out to reel out names, especially when you have a case that is before a court of competent jurisdiction.

“So, it is not that we are trying to shield the names, we know them but we need to be careful how we mention them, especially when they are undergoing hearings from the court.”

Nwauzor further explained that AMCON does not just take over an entity if it had not exhausted all avenues of peaceful resolution.

He said, “Some of these cases have been on for over five, seven years, and others since the inception of AMCON in 2010.

“So when you have exhausted all those options and the obligor or debtor is not bulging, then you seek redress in court and the court gives us the order to enforce on the asset of the obligor.

“It is through that court order that we’ll take over companies or to freeze the person’s account or assets. So it is not always cash; sometimes it comes in the form of cash, while other times it comes in the form of assets.”

On whether AMCON had received court approvals to go after the assets or cash of the top 20 defaulters, he replied, “Taking over a business or asset via the court is a process. It is not something that happens in one week or one year. But the court has been very helpful in this recovery effort, especially the federal high court.”

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Business

Ondo govt bans operations of Okada riders

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The Ondo State government has placed total restriction on the activities of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as “Okada”, in Ofosu and Ajebamidele axis of the Benin-Ore highway in Odigbo Local Government area of the state.

The state government, in a statement issued on Thursday by the Commissioner for Information, Donald Ojogo, stated that the ban became imperative on the stretch of the road which borders Edo State and Ogun State, due to what it described as the nefarious activities of the Okada riders.

In the statement, Ojogo maintained that their activities will henceforth be restricted within Ore town, pointing out how increasing crime rate in the affected areas are mostly perpetrated under the guise of those riding okada.

The statement read, “Government has observed with serious concern, the activities of some unscrupulous elements who have hidden under the guise of engaging in motorcycle business, popularly also known as Okada, to perpetrate crime on the Ofosu-Ajebamidele route along the Ore Expressway.

“Disturbed by the activities of these criminal elements which include armed robbery, kidnapping, their mode of operations as well as the heightening cases of loss of lives, the Ondo State Government has placed a total ban on commercial motorcycles (Okada) along the entire stretch of the route in question. This action is with immediate effect and shall suffice until further notice.

“By this development, all activities of commercial motorcyclists are henceforth, restricted to internal confines of Ore town and other communities in the area. Security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police, are consequently directed to apprehend forthwith, anyone who flouts this restriction order.

“Government appeals to the general public to co-operate with security agencies in the enforcement of this action in order to stem the growing rate of criminal activities along the area.”

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Business

Miyetti Allah announces closure of livestock markets in Enugu

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The Northern Leaders, Livestock and Perishable Goods Market, and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria, Enugu State chapter, has announced a two-day closure of livestock and perishable goods markets in the State.

To this effect, they will not be open for business on Wednesday and Thursday next week.

DAILY POST reports that within the period, the groups are to carryout sensitization visits to all the places of business and settlement of their members as part of their collaborative effort with the State Government and security agencies towards peace and security in the State.

This was announced at a press briefing jointly addressed by their leaders in Enugu, on Saturday.

The leaders, Gidado Siddki and Sarki A.Y. Sambo, who were flanked by others, said they were appreciative of the peaceful co-existence between their members and the people of Enugu State, and as such would not allow anyone to jeopardize it.

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Court Jails Bank MD 2 Years For Embezzling N195 Million

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Adetunji Abudu, a former managing director of New Prudential Mortgage Bank Limited, has been convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment for N195m fraud.

Justice I.N. Buba of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos State gave the ruling following his arraignment and prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to a statement by the anti-graft agency, Abudu was arraigned on a four-count charge bordering on money laundering and embezzlement, in 2016.

The agency said his offence is contrary to the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2004, Section 18(8) and punishable under Section 18 (11) of the BOFIA LFN 2004.

Abudu was alleged to have obtained a N35 million loan and another N110 million loan without authorisation when he was the bank’s managing director.

The former New Prudent Bank boss also approved the setting off of a N50 million loan granted to Total Access Concept Limited by Addoser Micro-finance Bank, which was also not authorised in accordance with the bank’s policy and in contravention of BOFIA 2004.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In the course of the trial, A.B.C. Oziokor, the lead prosecution counsel, called seven prosecution witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.

On his part, Abudu called five witnesses.

Delivering his judgment on Justice Buba found the defendant guilty on counts one, two, three and four, as charged.

The judge said, “The court has considered the fact that the convict is a first-time offender, a family man, and a breadwinner. The court will be lenient, given that the convict is a first offender. But this will also send the right signal that it is this type of attitude that has led our financial institutions into trouble.

“This is a matter the convict should not have allowed going through the rigors of a criminal trial, having been given the opportunity to refund the money. But he still remained obstinate.”

The judge, therefore, sentenced the convict to two years on counts one, two, three and four, without an option of fine, with effect from the day of the judgment.

The sentences are to run concurrently.

The convict was ordered to make restitution to the complainant, in accordance with Section 321(a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, “if the properties released cannot meet up the amount of exposure to the complainant”.

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