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Litigation Stalling AMCON’s Debt Recovery Efforts —Kuru

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…Says 73% Of Top 350 Debtors In Court

Managing Director and CEO of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Ahmed Lawan Kuru has revealed that majority of the 350 individuals and business entities with 84 per cent of the yet-to-be-recovered debts have tied the corporation down in courts, a situation that has stalled efforts to resolve the cases.

Recently after the first meeting between Mr Ahmed Lawan Kuru, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Office of AMCON and the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, the Minister disclosed that the Federal Government was working towards winding down the asset management behemoth, which was established at the height of the non-performing loan crisis in 2010, to clean up the heavily encumbered books of the banks.

Revelations by Kuru, during an interactive session suggest that the company is far from resolving the pending cases as litigation stalls processes leading to quick resolution of the pending cases. According to Kuru, 257 cases out of the 350 obligors who sit on over 84 per cent of dead assets of banks inherited by AMCON are currently at different stages of litigation.


Hence, he said, the underlying assets used as collateral cannot be liquidated by the organisation just like that.

Kuru also hinted that some obligors of AMCON were jubilant, and some even stopped picking our calls thinking that they will walk away from the debt once AMCON winds down.

Further information released by AMCON claimed that 350 obligors or 2.8 per cent of the total 12,700 debtors involved in the non-performing loan (NPL) hold 84 per cent of the total amounts, which have continued to accumulate interest.

L-R: Mr Kamilu Omokide,   *PHOTO CAPTION (2)* R-L: Mr Ahmed Lawan Kuru OFR, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON); Mr Ayodele Aminu, Managing Director of New Telegraph newspaper, Mr Mojeed Jamiu, Executive Editor Upshot Reports, and Mr Jude Chiedozie Nwauzor, Head, Corporate Communications Department, AMCON at the Media Parley hosted by AMCON in Lagos on Monday.


From inception, Kuru also disclosed in Lagos on Monday, that the Corporation has only sold 350 assets, while most are not in the market owing to legal encumbrances. But apart from litigation, pricing may have also slowed the speed of disposing of the assets. The pricing template is set by the CBN guidelines, which set the value above what prospective buyers consider above-market prices.

The AMCON boss asked the affected debtors who are interested in resolving their cases with the Corporation to make a serious offer, saying it “understands that the transactions involved are commercial and not criminal.”

He said owners of Arik and other seized assets must present resolution strategies that make sense to AMCON, the CBN and the Ministry of Finance if they truly want to be listened to.

Kuru explained that AMCON does not take pride in taking over thriving businesses but noted that it just happened that the firm got caught up in the Arik saga and intervened to save the carrier.

“The idea of Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was that Arik must be saved because of its prominence at that time. We made it clear at that time that we didn’t know anything much about aviation. Capt. Roy Ilegbodu was headhunted.

There was Capt Roy, then Capt. Ado Sanusi. These are some of the best guys in the industry. They said AMCON came to kill Arik when in fact, Arik would have long gone. But the fact that AMCON’s name was there, then, AMCON has killed it,” he added.

He noted that the case of Aero Contractors was worse before AMCON came in for a rescue, simply describing what culminated in the near-death of the once flourishing carrier to a case of “when people decide to steal from themselves, hinting, “AMCON can never be popular with the kind of job we do. We don’t go and close a running business. Some of those businesses were already dead. AMCON cannot see a thriving business and close it down. It does not happen like that,” Kuru concluded.

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‘EndSARS Bandits, Labour Party Followers Gathering’ – Joe Igbokwe Warns

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A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos State, Joe Igbokwe, has raised the alarm that EndSARS bandits are beginning to gather again ahead of a protest in the state.


In a statement, Igbokwe said: “I am the leader of Ndigbo in APC Lagos. I have lived in Lagos for more than 40 years, and I understand Lago’s dynamics and politics very well.

“I know what I went through and what I experienced during the #Endsars protest in Lagos in October 2020, which opened a can of worms that shook the long-existing cordial relationship and understanding between Igbo and the owners of Lagos.

“The Endsars bandits are gathering again, and this time, we see hands of Labour Party followers everywhere. They are yet to come to terms with the colossal loss of 2023 presidential elections. They are still bitter to the marrows. They are not done yet. They are gathering again. They are networking again. They are spitting fire and brimstone once again. But dynamics have changed. It is not business as usual. But please know this and have inner peace: 2020 is not 2024. I will not speak further. Read my lips.”

Igbokwe further said: “A lot of lessons were learnt by the leaders of Lagos and they said, and I witnessed it with my own two eyes, that NEVER AGAIN will they allow any group of people or protesters to play the unfortunate October 2020 game in Lagos that led to massive destruction of the economic nerve centre and the pride of Nigeria. The destructive messages that were issued to them by their leader are still with the Lagos State Government.

“I am speaking as an insider who has seen it all and let me say this: If you are one of those bandits trying to stage a comeback to test the will of Lagos leaders and finish the unfinished business of destroying Lagos, I fear for you. Please, in the name of whatever you believe in, leave Lagos in your own interest. Read my lips and learn. You do not tell a deaf and dumb man that war has started. If he sees others running, he will run also. History has shown that men have not learnt anything from history.

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Kenyan President Names Ally ‘Acting’ Stand-In For Sacked Ministers

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Kenyan President William Ruto named Wednesday his foreign minister as “acting cabinet secretary” for all ministries, nearly a week after dismissing almost his entire cabinet in an attempt to defuse deadly anti-government rallies.

The East African nation was left reeling after peaceful rallies last month over steep tax increases spiralled into violence that left dozens killed, and Ruto facing the most serious crisis of his presidency.

Scrambling to contain the fallout, he has embarked on a series of measures, including scrapping the finance bill containing the tax hikes, announcing government cuts, and last week dismissing almost all of his cabinet.

“Musalia Mudavadi… is assigned as the Acting Cabinet Secretary in all vacant Ministerial Portfolios,” according to a government Gazette Notice dated July 12, signed by the president, and released Wednesday.

Mudavadi, who holds the post of prime cabinet secretary and foreign minister, survived the cabinet purge on July 11 along with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

Following the resignations, Ruto said that he would “immediately engage in extensive consultations across different sectors and political formations, with the aim of setting up a broad-based government”.

This government would, he said, help him to develop “radical programmes” to deal with the country’s huge debt burden, increase job opportunities, eliminate government waste and “slay the dragon of corruption”.

However, main opposition coalition Azimio said on Wednesday evening it would “not be part of proposed broad based or any other government”.

It said that it had considered “a people driven National Constitutional Convention as a possible pathway towards the resolution of the national crisis”.

The cabinet dismissals were the latest move by the increasingly embattled Kenyan president to calm tensions.

Ruto has sought dialogue with the demonstrators, but the movement has spiralled into a broader campaign against his administration, with protesters calling for action against corruption and justice for victims of alleged police brutality.

The initially peaceful rallies degenerated into violence that has left 50 dead and 413 injured since their start on June 18, according to the state-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday.

Rights groups have accused police of using disproportionate force against the protesters.

While large street protests have subsided, anger against the government has not, with Tuesday seeing smaller-scale rallies across Kenya.

Some demonstrators clashed with police, according to local media, with officers firing tear gas at small groups gathered to protest in the capital Nairobi.

Many of those attending the marches also carried signs with the still-popular hashtag #RutoMustGo.

AFP

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Court Adjourns Yahaya Bello’s Arraignment To Sept 25

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Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court Abuja has adjourned proceedings on the alleged money laundering case instituted by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the former Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, to September 25.

The judge, on Wednesday, said proceedings would continue despite the appeal filed by the defendant.

The lawyer to the former governor had told the court that the defendant had filed an application for a stay of proceedings on the case, pending the determination of the appeal before the appeal court on an arrest warrant earlier granted by the lower court and other rulings.

At the resumed hearing, counsel for the defendant, Abdulwahab Mohammed (SAN) argued that the court could not proceed on the matter until the pending appeal was determined, citing authorities.

However, counsel for the EFCC, Kemi Pinheiro, opposed this vehemently, saying the defendant had not shown any Court of Appeal document that the court wanted the lower court to stay the proceeding.

At that point, Justice Emeka Nwite asked whether having received the application and affidavit and being aware of the pending appeal, it would not amount to judicial rascality for his court to continue proceedings on the matter.

But the prosecution counsel said, “It is not really an issue of jurisdiction”, adding that in the face of Section 40, the mere filing of an affidavit could not suffice as the case was not a civil case.

He urged the court to stick to the matter of the day, which was the ruling on the arguments presented on June 27.

The defendant’s counsel, however, told the court that the judge was misled on the 27th of June and that the request was for the proceedings of that day to be expunged.

In his ruling, Justice Nwite said, “The grant of stay of proceedings is at the court’s discretion, and since it is an issue of discretion no one can give an authority for the judge to rely on. The judge only needs to exercise this power judicially.”

The judge, who had asked before the recess that would it not amount to judicial rascality to continue the case when there was an issue of jurisdiction, changed his position and noted that the defendant wanted to use the appeal to delay proceedings.

According to him, there have been previous Court of Appeal judgments on such matters.

He also granted the application for withdrawal of the defendant’s counsel, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), from the case and referred the matter of misconduct to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee to investigate possible infractions.

Justice Nwite said having stated the law, “the question is whether there was an undertaking by Wahab (SAN) and Adedipe (SAN), which was breached to amount to contempt of court.”

He consequently adjourned the case to September 25 for arraignment.

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