3rd August 2023
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (‘AMCON’) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (‘NFIU’) have again been described as some of the two most important and indispensable agencies of the federal government of Nigeria especially as it relates to the stability of the financial system and the economy pursuant to the catalytic role they play.
Hon. Justice John T. Tsoho, OFR, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court who is currently in London, United Kingdom in the company of other Federal High Court Judges from Nigeria to attend the annual training for this class of top judicial officers, declared open on Monday by His Excellency Sarafa Tunji Isola, OFR – High Commissioner for Nigeria in the United Kingdom said, while AMCON led by Mr Ahmed Lawan Kuru OFR, has offloaded toxic assets of banks, the NFIU, led by Mr. Modibbo R. Hamman Tukur on the other hand has continued to ensure that all funds and assets as well as securities circulating within our system are clean.
Justice Tsoho in his welcome address at the commencement of the training facilitates by the Dr Fatihu Abba-led Legal Academy told the High Commissioner and his colleagues that it was because of the critical and strategic roles, which AMCON and NFIU play in the growth of the Nigerian economy that was considered by the Federal High Court to invite their CEOs and some of their top officials as participants in the training especially as the judicial system is seen as the bedrock of civilised society.
He said, “An effective judicial system is the bedrock of any civilized society. Thus, it is necessary to equip ourselves with the inherent skills for effectual macro and micro economic adjudication in the virtual era. Increased online transactions with accompanying economic value will trigger diverse legal issues. Therefore, the Court must be prepared for this nascent technology. I am committed to the sustenance of trainings that will make the Judges of the Federal High Court withstand this contemporary legal challenge.
“This training must be considered as an integral component of our judicial duties. The Executive must ensure that the welfare of judges, which includes training, is paramount in its policies, while notwithstanding the autonomy of the Judiciary as an Arm of Government. In our 2019 International Training in Dubai and the United States of America, our Court accommodated AMCON and the FCCPC. In 2021, we integrated AMCON to our Programme in Cairo. This year, we extended a window of participation to AMCON and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (‘NFIU’).
“These institutions are indispensable to the stability of the financial system and the economy pursuant to the catalytic role they play. While AMCON has offloaded toxic assets of Banks, NFIU ensures that all funds and assets as well as securities circulating within our system are clean. I have carefully considered their interest to share their thoughts with us today and have accordingly welcomed them.”
AMCON MD/CEO in his submission described the opportunity extended to AMCON as a participant as golden because it gives AMCON the platform to once again present its case, refresh memories, highlight the institution’s challenges, emphasis the nature of its national assignment and the challenges of its sunset date. Most importantly, Kuru stated that AMCON though forums such as this helps the Corporation to get feedbacks that helps AMCON to perform better.
He said, “My Lords, distinguished ladies, and gentlemen, with the help of the Judiciary AMCON has been able to make notable progress especially in enforcement. Granting of Exparte Orders as well as Orders to attach traced assets have compelled most recalcitrant obligors of AMCON to come to the negotiation table. To date the Corporation has made recoveries of about N1.6 trillion, which include recoveries in cash and in sale of assets.
“As Nigeria struggles with huge debt burden, so is AMCON struggling with very recalcitrant obligors who have mastered the act of clinging to the technicalities, rather than settle their established obligations. We have noticed from experience however that some recalcitrant obligors have found new tricks of colluding with a third party who would present himself as the owner of the traced assets and file for the Order of Court to be set aside. We urge Your Lordships to kindly be wary of these characters.
“We cannot over flog the important role the Judiciary play in National Development and as such Your Lordships remain vital to the success of AMCON. We still have many cases pending with the various divisions of the Courts. These matters are very vital to the success of the Corporation and particularly as we know that if we are unable to resolve them, it becomes a burden on our country’s debt profile and taxpayer’s money. Despite the achievements made, with the tremendous support of Your Lordships, we are still strongly battling with our debt recovery activities. It is very difficult, particularly given our peculiar situation.”
In continuation Kuru added, “Out of total of N4.664 trillion we have so far recovered about N1.6 trillion in the more than 10 years of our existence. We still have a long way to go! About 350 obligors account for N3.957 trillion, which is above 84% of total outstanding amount. Our debt is in the balance sheet of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and therefore a threat to the economy. After recovery and disposal, funds are paid directly into our CBN account. Recovery and disposal of assets have so far contributed about N1.6 trillion towards settling our obligation. Accordingly, we would not get tired of appealing to Your Lordships for more understanding and collaboration towards the achievement of this National assignment,” Kuru submitted.”
The AMCON boss also thanked His Excellency the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola, OFR for making out time to attend the programme.
A statement signed by Mr Jude Nwauzor, Head of Corporate Communications Department at AMCON said the Group Head, Enforcement of AMCON, Mr Joshua Ikioda, as well as AMCON Consultant, Mr. Muyiwa Balogun of Olaniwun Ajayi Legal Practitioners in two separate presentations brought to the fore the need for continuous collaboration between AMCON, the judiciary and indeed all sister agencies of the federal government at this time of Nigeria’s history.