AMCON says taxpayers may bear burden of unrecovered debts

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Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria is seeking the support of the judiciary to recover the over N5.4tn debt owed the corporation by chronic debtors.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, AMCON, Mr Ahmed Kuru, said this on Saturday at the  2019 annual seminar for Justices of the Court of Appeal.

The seminar which was held at the Court of Appeal complex in Abuja had as it’s theme, “The amended AMCON Act 2019: A detailed review.”

Kuru said in view of the fact that AMCON is approaching its terminal date, it had become imperative to get the support of the courts in resolving all the pending cases currently before them.

He also told the Justices that more than ever before, AMCON would need the support of the judiciary to resolve the debt obligation before the terminal date.

This, he noted, was imperative based on the conviction that debtors of AMCON are working hard to stretch the corporation to its terminal date.

He explained that if the over N5.4tn debt owed AMCON remain unrecovered, it would eventually become the burden of the Federal Government and by extension Nigerian taxpayers.

He told the Justices that this should not be allowed to happen because currently, those owing these debts are using various technicalities to delay court cases.

He said, “The amendments (of the AMCON Act) was done to recover the loans people took from banks.

“If AMCON is not able to recover the debt, it becomes the debt of the government and when this happens, it is the taxpayers, who will bear this burden of people who were reckless. This should not be allowed to happen.

“We urge you to designate some of the courts for AMCON cases. We urge you to assist in granting accelerated hearing for AMCON cases.”

He said  the different challenges of AMCON in its debt recovery drive, had necessitated AMCON to put machinery in motion and worked with the National Assembly to amend the Act.

The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, in her opening address at the event, said the concern raised by the AMCON MD is becoming worrisome in view of the fact that recalcitrant obligors deploy technicalities to frustrate the corporation.

She said given the challenges faced by AMCON in its debt recovery efforts, the corporation cannot operate effectively without the sustained support of the courts.

She said, “Indeed, AMCON has demonstrated extraordinary submission and respect to our revered institutions by ensuring that it collaborates with the National Judicial Institute for its programmes with the courts.

“This approach evidences the transparency that is inherent and indispensable in the interface between the Judiciary and the Executive.

“It is compelling to remind you that AMCON has a sun-set date. This time constraint has made it necessary for AMCON to move to the enforcement gear.”

For AMCON to accomplish its target as it approaches the sun-set date, the Appeal Court President said the corporation must be more proactive and ingenious in its approach towards the realisation of its objectives.

“It is therefore beyond doubt that for AMCON to succeed, the support of the judiciary is decisive as the distinguished Judiciary is the last hope of AMCON.”

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