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AMCON: Making the task force work

THERE have been some noticeable and, no doubt, bold steps taken by the government recently to ensure that some privileged Nigerians who have deceitfully cornered a mammoth slice of the country’s collective wealth through the manipulation of the financial system do not use their enormous influence to make away with it for good. Not only has the government set up a task force to enforce the recovery of the over N5 trillion indebtedness to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, the President, Muhammadu Buhari, has also assented to the AMCON (Amendment) Act 2019 to plug the legal loopholes that might hinder the corporation in performing its duty. Specifically, the AMCON (Amendment) Act 2019 gives sweeping powers to the corporation to monitor activities of the Nigerian debtors to ensure that they do not unduly take advantage of the weakness in the country’s banking system. Among other things, the Act says that the “protection of customer confidentiality is not a ground for the denial of the power of the Corporation” to act. The corporation is further empowered to place any bank account or any other account comparable to a bank account of a debtor of an eligible financial institution under surveillance. With these measures, the government seems to be making no bones about its resolve to go after the high profile recalcitrant debtors, especially the very few said to be responsible for the bulk of the AMCON debt. According to the chairman of the AMCON board, Muiz Banire, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, only 20 individuals or entities are responsible for 67 per cent of the debt. But also expounding on the matter last month, AMCON’s Managing Director, Ahmed Kuru, said, “To enable you (to) understand the magnitude of what we are talking about, only 350 individuals account for 80 per cent of the debt, amounting to N4.6 trillion…Read more

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