AMCON, Justice Dimgba fine-tune recovery of N5tr outstanding debt

As the noose on bad debtors tightens under the latest enforcement strategy, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Asaba, at the weekend, re-echoed the fact that the task to strengthen the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON’s) recovery drive remains a national concern and a huge burden to the judiciary and the country at large.
He therefore called for concerted efforts from critical stakeholders especially the judiciary to enable AMCON recover the over N5trillion outstanding debt. Dimgba was one of the guest speakers at the 2019 Annual Seminar for External Solicitors and Asset Management Partners (AMPs), which ended at Eko Hotel, Lagos at the weekend.

Managing Director/CEO of AMCON, Mr. Ahmed Lawan Kuru, had set the tone of discussion when he called on the Corporation’s Council and Asset Management Partners (AMPs) to take advantage of the special provision on accelerated hearing of AMCON matters since the Practice Rules allow the courts to sit from day-to-day, even on the weekends, at their discretion.

Kuru said AMCON has noticed increased incidences of obligors taking advantage of the appeal process to deny the Corporation the benefit of favourable judgments. He however disclosed that AMCON was now conscious of the availability of the opportunity to request the courts to order litigants to deposit judgment consideration with the court registrars, which he said will mitigate the practice of obligors deliberately dragging their matters in court.

Justice Dimgba who delivered a paper titled, “Responsibilities and Liabilities of Receivers/Managers Under the AMCON Regime and the Relevance of Winding-up/Bankruptcy Proceedings and Liquidation in AMCON’s Recovery Drive,” called on the judiciary to partner the agency to ensure it meets its mandate before its sunset, which is fast approaching.

He said the issue of AMCON’s recovery drive has become complex question that has vexed the thoughts and deliberations of policymakers; AMCON executives; and even the average Nigerian citizen (as AMCON oversees funds that trace their roots to the taxpayer).

Agreeing, Dimgba also challenged AMCON’s external council to familiarise themselves with the laws of the country, the AMCON Act as amended; the practice direction; the Federal High Court AMCON Proceeding Rules 2018, and the Federal High Court Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Rules, 2018. These, he said, will better equip them to reasonably assist AMCON and the nation to recover its humongous debt obligation.

Dimgba, said the success of AMCON in this light will help stabilise the economy of Nigeria, adding that it is sad that its attempts to recover value from the non-performing loans stands at a paltry 20 per cent. In the light of growing agitations for salary increases, investments in the tertiary institutions and improved healthcare, the judge disclosed that these alarming figures therefore required all stakeholders to assist AMCON to fully utilise its statutory powers, to deliver its mandate under the AMCON Act, just as the country’s economy stands to benefit a lot from the recovery.

Other legal experts who also spoke at the seminar, tagged: “The Dynamic and Proactive Deployment of AMCON Special Powers and Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Effective and Efficient Resolution of Troubled Assets,” were unanimous in urging AMCON’s external council go all out to assist AMCON meet its mandate.

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