Lawmakers blame CBN, NDIC and others for collecting N5 trillion AMCON debt

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and four other agencies have come under fire from the House of Representatives over their failure to collect debts owed to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

An interagency body had been set up by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on July 31 to help AMCON in its debt collection effort. The group consisted of the CBN, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Others were the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). They have been tasked with bolstering AMCON in its bid to collect N5 trillion in debt.

Chairman of the Lower House Banking and Currency Committee, Victor Nwokolo, blamed the group, saying it has not worked towards its goal since its inception.

At a retreat in Lagos on Sunday, hosted by lawmakers including AMCON leadership and other stakeholders, Nwokolo said interagency members were not collaborating.

Addressing stakeholders at the retreat, Nwokolo said, “We cannot continue like this because we are accountable to the Nigerian people and our constituents as legislators. They will hold us accountable if we fail to take decisive action that would help AMCON collect these huge outstanding debts.

He added that: “In a healthy climate, government ministries, departments and agencies are supposed to work in sync to make sure no one skimps on the federal government, but from the reports we get from AMCON, it is evident that they face frustrations from not only debtors, but also from the judiciary, as well as federal government departments, departments and agencies. There is no reason for this to happen in a decent country.

He further revealed that “the National Assembly would, shortly, organize another retreat which would involve about six key stakeholders to discuss, in great detail, the strategy that would be adopted to ensure that Nigeria recovers his money, which certain heartless debtors owe the country, and for which they hide under all sorts of tricks to escape repayment.

Since its inception in 2010, AMCON had fetched N1.4 trillion. Funds recovered included N681 billion in cash, N279 billion in confiscated property, N140 billion in confiscated shares, as well as N208 billion in strategic assets and over N116.9 billion Polaris EBA from the acquisition period to date.

Also Read: To Keep Customers Safe, AMCON Squeezes Bank Profits and Cuts N123.8 Billion

Meanwhile, the head of the government’s debt collection agency, Ahmed Kuru, who was represented by AMCON Group’s director, asset management directorate, Matthew Coker, blamed the Nigerian judiciary for difficulty in recovering the debt.

“Honourable members, the company’s recovery processes at this stage are primarily dependent on the judiciary, i.e. obtaining possession orders or sale orders. The slowness of our legal proceedings and the sometimes contradictory orders of the courts, in particular at the Federal High Court (FHC), which is our court of first instance, hinder the collection process. There are delays in getting court dates to hear AMCON cases,” Kuru said.

“The deposit of the judgment sum as provided in the law is not enforced by the courts, some of the debtors are still active government contractors. They do business with the government with debtor company names or other pseudo names and the BOFIA law which provided for a special tribunal on collection and executions would have expedited the trial of our cases in court if the judiciary had set up a working group specifically in this area. regard,” he said.

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John A. Bogar