CJN urges enforcement of Amendment Act to boost AMCON debt recovery
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, has called for the enforcement of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Amendment Act 2019 to enhance the agency’s debt recovery drive.
He argued that a law cannot be effective if it is not effectively enforced, and congratulated AMCON management, the lawmakers for their boldness in amending the Act, and all Nigerians who will ultimately be the beneficiaries of the amendment if all the outstanding debts estimated at over N5.4trillion were recovered.
The CJN made these declarations when the AMCON Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Lawan Kuru, earlier in the week led a delegation of some senior officials to the Supreme Court to officially present him with copies of the AMCON Amendment Act 2019.
Muhammad, who personally received the team, said: “We welcome you to the Supreme Court today and we are happy that you are here to give us a lot of information regarding the amendment of the AMCON Act. I am sure the amendment has enhanced the many activities of your operation
“What now remains is for enforcement. The law may be there, but the difficulty may be in enforcement and especially in your own case where the debt is financially related, tied to properties and so on. The task before you is not a small one; you have a lot of responsibilities. With the kind of personalities we have here, particularly with the leadership led by this gentleman that I have known for a very long time, I am sure it will not be too much a difficult task for you to leverage the amended Act to sanitize whatever was wrong before you people were appointed. The Supreme Court will continue to cooperate with you, and we love this sort of interaction with you,” Muhammad stated.
Additionally, while noting the timelines, which the Act allocated to the different courts for hearing of AMCON cases, he assured that the courts would do their best to abide by the timelines as allocated in the Act. He also urged the leadership of AMCON to consult the judiciary should there be a need for further amendment of the act in the future.
Kuru, while briefing the CJN highlighted the different challenges AMCON faced in its debt recovery drive, which pushed it to put machinery in motion and worked with the National Assembly to amend the Act.
He again reiterated that the over N5.4trillion debt owed AMCON will eventually become the burden of the federal government and by extension Nigerian taxpayers,
Accordingly, Kuru said AMCON more than ever before would need the support of the judiciary to resolve the debt obligation before its wind-down, as the obligors are working hard to stretch the cases to the sunset period.