AMCON recovers N682bn bad debts in six years

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON has recovered N681.5 billion over the past six years from debtors in form of cash, properties and shares, its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer , Mr. Ahmed Kuru, said yesterday.He disclosed this at a conference of Federal High Court Judges, which held at the National Judicial Institute’s (NJI) complex in Abuja.

The theme of the conference was “The AMCON Regime: A Paradigm Shift in Debt Recovery.” Explaining why AMCON would continue to crave the support of the judiciary, the AMCON boss disclosed that most of the Corporation’s recoveries were made possible through court sanctioned settlements or outright judgment, adding that AMCON presently has at least N1.7trillion worth of assets under litigation across the federation, which he also said “seriously underscored” the need for an effective resolution mechanism through the courts.

Mr. Kuru who attended the event with Dr. Eberechukwu Uneze, an Executive Director with the Corporation said AMCON, recognized that the judiciary was the greatest and most important stakeholder in the pursuit of its statutory mandate, which was why the corporation would continue to seek the support, association and collaboration of the judiciary all through its lifespan.

Kuru said his assertion was based on the fact that when all ther resolution strategy fails, AMCON resorts to the courts in order to exercise AMCON special enforcement powers.

He said: “We understand the crucial role of the judiciary, which is why we always look forward to opportunities like this where we can share some of our unique experiences towards ensuring that justice is done in all of our cases based on a thorough understanding of the unique regime under, which AMCON was established in 2010.”

AMCON was set up in 2010 to absorb banking sector-wide nonperforming loans in exchange for government bonds, after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rescued nine weak lenders from collapse in 2009. But pressure has been building up again, with loan books – nearly half of them in dollars – hammered by shrinkage in the economy, a sinking currency and acute foreign exchange shortages – all consequences of the slump in oil prices.

Last February AMCON took over the day-to-day running of Arik Air in an attempt to rescue the country’s largest airline, which was placed in receivership after it failed to pay workers or creditors.

Last week, it sold the nationalised Keystone Bank to a consortium of local investors. Also speaking at the event, the Administrator of the NJI, Justice Rosaline Bozimo, reiterated the importance of the judiciary and all stakeholders in the financial industry to support the activities of AMCON and its debt recovery efforts because of the huge positive impact of that to the Nigerian economy and its ability to correct the economic flaws of the past, which led to the establishment of the corporation.

She said the call had become necessary because of the critical but difficult assignment of AMCON to recover huge debts as mandated by its establishment Act.

She informed that it was based on the importance that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, attached to AMCON as an integral component of the financial safety net system, that made him to graciously grant approval forthe interaction.

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