Only 20 Nigerians owe AMCON N1.2trn
By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru ABUJA—
THE House of Representatives yesterday lamented that 20 Nigerians alone were owing the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, N1.2 trillion. This is as the House Ad-Hoc Committee on undue accumulation of debts and alleged fraudulent sale of Banks by AMCON, has expressed deep concerns over the undue accumulation of N5 trillion or $25 billion debts bought over by the corporation from its obligors and politically exposed persons and its inability to recover same over the past few years. Consequently, the House presided over by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara has mandated its standing Committee on Banking and Currency to investigate the failure of Obligo/bank debtors to liquidate their loans in order to enable AMCON redeem the three years zero coupon bond she raised and to report back to the House within four weeks. Obligor is an international management company with an established institutional investor platform and focus on investing in and managing real estate in the Nordic region. The House expressed the displeasure that the 20 Nigerians owing N1.2 trillion were operating private jets and walking freely unchallenged. The Green Chamber in a motion sponsored by Rep. Johnbull Shekarau, PDP, Plateau, titled, “Call for the investigation of Asset Management Company of Nigeria, Obligor over the non liquidation of N2.473,248,84 trillion” accused banks of owing the company N2.473 billion, an amount they said was hampering the assets managers from carrying out its palliative and redemption functions.
Shekarau had in the debate stated that the Federal Government through Federal Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had provided initial capital and a three-year zero coupon federal government guaranteed bond to allow AMCON raise N5.67trn for the intervention.
He lamented that six years after, the company was yet to recover its debts from the banks to enable it redeem the coupon bond it had acquired. The lawmaker said, “The inability to recover this amount has serious implication on the economy especially now that it is in recession.” But AMCON had as at two years ago said it had completed the scheduled redemption of its Series V zero-coupon bonds meaning it has fully exited the public debt market after redeeming N1.87trn worth of all bonds issued since inception. Contributing to the debate, Rep. Zakari Mohammed, APC, Kwara said there was need to review capacities of AMCON in recovering the debts as their intervention at the time was timely and well- thought-out. Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas regretted that 20 individuals alone were owing the company N1.2 trillion out of the the N2. 473 trillion debts, and called for an urgent action. He, however refused to disclose the names of the 20 Nigerians even as he explained that AMCON was established by law in 2009 as an intervention and stabilization agency to respond to the 2007-2009 global financial crisis that hit the country at the time. Vanguard gathered that the House Ad-Hoc Committee which was mandated by the House in a resolution on 6th October, 2015, has observed that AMCON had no approved policy on the process and procedure to be adopted for the divestment of its shareholding in its subsidiaries and affiliates. According to the report, the current debt portfolio of the Corporation is N800 billion above the ceiling stipulated for it by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). It further noted that the corporation’s balance sheet has a shortfall of N3.8 trillion ($19 billion) and that the geometric accumulation of debts by AMCON will no doubt endanger the dwindling National reserves put at $30 billion at that time particularly as the Federal Government stood as guarantor for AMCON bonds as enshrined in section 27 of the AMCON Act, 2010. The report went ahead to say that going by the Committee’s investigation into the sales of some domestic banks, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) denied participation in the acquisition and sale of assets of banks, as the Corporation failed to obtain the certificate of ‘No Objection’ prior to March 2014 when AMCON carried out its procurement activities “as they were under the misconception that the scope of application of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2007 did not apply to them