- AMCON, Firm Differ Over Planned Asset Seizure
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and Suru Ventures Nigeria Limited are on the warpath over moves by the bad debt manager to take over the Best Western Hotel located at 12, Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos State.
The hotel is one of the properties belonging to Suru Ventures.
The Group Managing Director, Suru Ventures, Mr. Edward Akinlade, told a news conference in Lagos that official of AMCON had recently stormed the hotel in attempt to seal up the facility over allegations of N13.4bn allegedly owed Oceanic Bank Plc (now Ecobank).
Akinlade claimed that in 2011, AMCON took over the company’s “performing loan” in Oceanic Bank and the bank was sued for doing so.
He said, “We sued Oceanic Bank N39bn for mismanaging our account. AMCON now took us to court before Justice Idris who dismissed the case on the basis that it was a performing loan. AMCON now needs to go on appeal but it did not, instead joined the case with Oceanic Bank, and the case has been going on for six months.
“We have sued Oceanic Bank since 2011; so we are still on the matter, and AMCON decided to join the case as a co-defendant. The last time that case came up in court was about a month ago. The case has been adjourned to October 3rd, 2017.”
He added, “This AMCON take-over is illegal. We are still waiting to go back to court on October 3rd, 2017 for a case we filed against AMCON at the Federal High Court, only for AMCON to turn around and come up with a judgment that does not concern us.”
But the Head, Corporate Communications, AMCON, Mr. Jude Nwauzor, reportedly said the corporation was simply obeying a court order, which mandated the agency to take over the hotel due to its indebtedness running to over N27bn.
According to him, the amount is huge and can assist the economy to address part of the challenges currently facing it.
Nwazor said, “We make series of efforts to support businesses because the whole idea is to keep the economy vibrant and running so that there will be employment.
“We normally take our time because we are also careful not to go against a court order; we must obey the court order. As a government agency we cannot be seen to be flouting any court order.
“Even the President does not have security over a court order, as it is a court bailiff thing but Nigerians are fond of flouting laws, no country will allow anyone owing up to N27bn to still be in business, because N27bn is a whole lot of money that can do a lot in this economy.”
Nwauzor explained that AMCON was set up to buy bad loans from banks to enable banks to continue in business.
He pointed out that AMCON usually borrowed funds to buy bad loans from banks and that the agency had the mandate to go after the debtors to liquidate the loans.
“This is how it works: when you get a loan and you default, the loan keeps expanding. By the time AMCON took over the Suru Ventures loan, we met over N15bn but the actual loan it collected was about N12.4bn and it was non-performing. There is no way AMCON will go into any business without being mandated to do so.”