AMPs To Tighten The Noose On AMCON Debtors

Executive Director, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Dr Eberechukwu Uneze addressing the AMPs in Abuja at the weekend

The Asset Management Partners (AMPs) scheme of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) may have resolved to change their recovery strategy by making use of AMCON’s special powers as contained in the AMCON Act 2019 as amended, which has been signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

This is feelers from a 2-day training, which was organized by Legal Academy led by Dr. Fatihu A. Abba as Director-General in conjunction with AMCON and themed: “The Utility of the Federal High Court Proceedings Rules and Complementary Strategies as Critical Tools in AMCON Debt Recovery by AMPs.” The training was organised to enlighten the AMPs on other powers and provisions that are available to them as they partner AMCON to recover the huge debt of over N5trillion from obligors.

The AMPs scheme, which AMCON introduced five years ago when the current Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of AMCON Mr Ahmed Kuru assumed office currently has about 6,000 Eligible Bank Assets (EBAs) at different stages of resolution and about 3,000 matters at various courts in the country.

Although the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) ongoing strike in the country may have delayed or stalled recovery efforts of both the Corporation and the AMPs, there are indications that AMCON’s recalcitrant debtors may be in serious trouble soon as the strike action is called off and the courts resume sitting across the country.

Managing Director/CEO Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria  (AMCON) Mr Ahmed Kuru (standing first right) with some of the AMPs at the beginning of the training in Abuja at the weekend

The AMPs whose 2-day training ended in Abuja at the weekend were exposed to the huge powers of the act and therefore empowered to make use of the different sections of the AMCON Act 2019 as amended including Section 6(1) and Section 50A; Section 53(7); Section 53 (3) and (5); Section 34(a) to (c) and 39 (c); Section 49; Section 50 as well as Section 50 and 51 in their recovery efforts.

These sections according to Mr Muyiwa Balogun one of the facilitators deals with the issues of bankruptcy and winding up, interlocutory freezing orders, power to trace and track, custody possession of debtor’s company, vesting legal title, fast tracking AMCON cases and preservatory relief /leave to appeal just to mention a few.

Balogun, a legal practitioner and a partner at Olaniwun Ajayi LP told the participants that these laws are there for both AMCON and the AMPs to use in their recovery drive and sees no reason why the AMPs and even AMCON are not making use of these provisions maximally in conjunction with the Federal High Court (FHC) Rules 2012 especially since the FHC is AMCON’s court of first instance.

AMCON is chasing to recover over N5trillion from obligors that have remained unwilling to repay their debt. Sadly, some of the debtors have also defiled the Nigeria security screening system to contest and win elective political positions in the country, which makes recovery more difficult.

At the training, both the AMCON boss and Dr Eberechukwu Uneze, an Executive Director at AMCON expressed their willingness to continue to sustain and support the AMP scheme as it has become critical in the recovery drive of AMCON.

Kuru in his keynote address at the beginning of the training stated that since the inception of the AMP scheme, AMCON has made significant milestones even though the application of the concept and achievement have not mitigated some key challenges. He said it is for that reason that AMCON has and will continue to engage with different stakeholders especially the AMPs to ensure that they understand the AMCON Act as amended.

He said, “As we are aware, the AMCON Act was amended by the National Assembly and subsequently assented to by His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. This amendment further empowered in the Corporation special debt recovery powers and other prerogatives to aid its recovery of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) from recalcitrant debtors that are hiding under different tactics to delay repayment of their debt obligation.

“To ensure coherence of the amended Act with the AMCON Federal High Court Rules, the Honorable Chief Judge, Hon. Justice J.T. Tsoho was gracious enough to set up a committee to finetune the current AMCON Rules of Court to cover the amended provisions of the Act. This process is now in its concluding stages and it is therefore imperative that you (AMPs) as our pivotal stakeholders are brought up to speed with the new provisions of the Rules.”

Some of the papers presented at the training programme include, “AMCON Federal High Court Rules 2020 and 2019 Amendments to the AMCON Act: A Practical and Robust Analysis,” by Mr. Muyiwa Balogun of Olaniwun Ajayi LP; “Effective Case Management and Reporting,” by the duo of Mr. Jude Orhotowho, Head, Information Technology, AMCON

and Mr. Brian Ike-Echie, Head, Case Management, AMCON.

Other papers include “Asset Tracing as a Debt Recovery Tool,” by Mr. Bisi Oni of TAC Professional as well as “Practical Aspects of the A-Z of AMCON Receivership,” by Mr. Robert Odehi of Dele Oye & Associates amongst others.

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