Sir Arumemi Johnson, the founder of Arik Air (left) with the Airline in receivership of AMCON
From all indications, there appears to be no end to the brouhaha between the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and Sir Arumemi Johnson regarding the activities of the Receiver Manager of Arik Air Limited, Mr Kamilu Alaba Omokide FCA, a Senior Vice President at AMCON who is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) based on a shocking petition filed by Mr. Femi Falana, SAN on behalf of Sir Arumemi Johnson on an issue that is clearly before competent courts of law.
AMCON, a debt recovery agency of the federal government of Nigeria has for years now been in different courts with several debtors including Sir Arumemi Johnson, who AMCON had severally described as not just a high-profile, and recalcitrant obligor, monsters, and bully borrowers. Only recently, the Arik founder who we learnt is still heavily indebted to AMCON more than N400billion continue to seek help outside the courts, without adding how he intends to settle the debt.
Some of the companies linked to Sir Arumemi Johnson that cumulatively owe AMCON the humongous amount of over N400billion include Arik Air Limited, Rockson Engineering Limited, which was given the contract to build seven Nigerian National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), which would have improved power generation in the country, Ojemai Farms Limited amongst others.
A reliable source who understands the inside story told our correspondent that most of the issues raised in the petition, which are lies, are also subject of cases before the courts. In addition, he said court pronouncements have also been made on some of them. He therefore wondered how Sir Arumemi Johnson, whose debt profile is one of the heaviest in AMCON books, and who should be the one being investigated, is the one instigating others sponsoring smear campaigns against AMCON.
He added, “It is strange that he is seeking for other sources of evading justice and repayment. But the fact remains that Sir Arumemi Johnson and his companies owe AMCON over N400billion. This can only happen in Nigeria, and I hope the new administration led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu would address some of these impunities by rich and powerful men in Nigeria.”
NewsBits further gathered that even though AMCON had indeed, and to a large extent remained civil in all their dealings with Sir Arumemi Johnson, he had at some point provided AMCON with proposals and resolution plans that were heavily tainted with fraud and subterfuge, only to turn around to claim that the Receiver Manager appointed by AMCON mismanaged N120billion as contained in the said petition, a development he described as “Misleading, full of outright and deliberate lies interspersed with mischief. If you recall, Arik was totally rundown, heavily indebted, with Sir Arumemi Johnson unable to make repayment, which led to the appointment of the Receiver Manager by AMCON in the first place.
“And do not forget that the appointment of the Receiver Manager by AMCON was carried out in line with the provisions of the AMCON Act (as amended). Therefore, attempts to disparage the Receivership and work of the Receiver Manager with the intention of frustrating his work will not succeed because he is carrying out his legitimate work,” he added.
Although Jude Nwauzor, Head, Corporate Communications Department of AMCON refused to comment on this development when we contacted him, AMCON had previously through the different public engagements told the public that it would continue to carrying out its legitimate responsibility of recovering the huge outstanding debt of nearly N5trillion owed AMCON by the obligors no matter the intensity of the blackmail, misrepresentation of facts, denials, campaigns of calumny, media trials, intimidation, or any other strategy adopted by the obligors to slow down the corporation’s recovery strategy.