Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr. Ahmed Kuru, has said something drastic and urgent has to be done with Nigeria’s judicial processes to enable AMCON dispense 3,000 court cases the Corporation is presently grappling with. He said these barrage of court cases most of which are at the instance of debtors is going to hamper the recovery in the months and years ahead in the short lifespan of AMCON. He said most of the obligors are just buying time by trying to restrain the corporation from foreclosing their assets.
He said this trend is worrisome because of the liability of about N5.4tn in the book of AMCON, only 300 “powerful” Nigerians account for 70 per cent of the total debt. He said the only way for AMCON to move forward would hinge heavily of the reform of the country’s judiciary so that it would expedite the hearing of AMCON-related cases, especially given the length of time some of the cases spend in court and the AMCON’s sunset, which is around the corner.
Kuru also disclosed that the corporation would no longer buy off non-performing loans because the Corporation, which started operations in 2010 was already winding down. Hear him, “AMCON is supposed to be an intervention agency for 10 years, so, people go to court deliberately to buy time, not that they know that they are right. To some of them, that gives them the window to come and talk to you and they continue to stretch it. We are a law-abiding corporation, so we have to follow the judicial process. There are some cases that we inherited from banks that have been going on for the last five to 10 years and the possibility of those cases finishing in the next five years is also very slim.”
Expressing his frustration by Nigerians who have borrowed monies from different banks but have refused to pay, Kuru said, “I have more than 3,000 court cases. People take us to court every day. Part of the challenge we have is the judicial system or judicial process. In other climes, if you are a debtor and the financial institution takes you to court, that case would last maybe one or two weeks. So, banks foreclose very easily in other climes. But here, somebody can take you to court; he knows he has taken the money, he knows he has not paid, but the constitution protects him, so he takes you to court and comes up with all manners of technicalities. If we can have a sharper legal framework that would target these 300 Nigerians, then we would be making very good progress.”