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10 ‘big boys’ hold economy to ransom, owe AMCON N1tr

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Managing Director, AMCON, Ahmed Kuru

Managing Director, AMCON, Ahmed Kuru

Litigations stall efforts to recover debts.

Efforts by the Federal Government at shoring up economic activities through debt recovery from individuals and organisations are not adding up. High-profile debtors are using the courts to mount blocks in the way of government.

The Guardian learnt that at least 10 of such individuals, referred to as the “big boys”, are collectively owing the government about N1 trillion, which is about 17 per cent of the N6 trillion 2016 national budget.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr. Ahmed Kuru, told The Guardian that these “big boys with big jets” had perfected the art of going to court to stop the debt-buying agency from taking possession of their assets.

According to him, court processes could take up to 10 years, as debtors are willing to go to any length, including getting to the Supreme Court, in delaying suits filed against them. “Obligors in court just want to buy time to continue to live with their lifestyles, which is more important to them than paying up their debts,” he noted.

Kuru, who declined to disclose the identities of the big boys, because he did not “want to fight them on the pages of the newspapers” since the cases are still ongoing, however, vowed that AMCON would recover every penny owed government.

President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly accused the judiciary of frustrating his fight against corruption, especially in prosecuting high-profile cases. He has continued to challenge judicial officers to remove every obstacle inhibiting the successful prosecution of such cases.

Speaking specifically on some of the factors impeding AMCON’s debt recovery efforts, Kuru said: “We have three major challenges – one, AMCON’s ability to perform depends on the state of the economy; we are talking about recovering money from businesses, so the state of the economy is very key. That is a challenge. We’ve started seeing some traction, businesses have started seeing some progress and some of them are picking up, that is also a challenge.

“Two, the judicial process. People rush to courts and the constitution gives them the right to do so, and that also slows us down. Three, the AMCON Act does not transfer ownership of the Eligible Bank Assets (EBA) directly to AMCON. We have to go through the legal process to convert those assets to ourselves. That in itself is a challenge.”

In getting the “big boys” to pay their debts, the AMCON boss said: “It is not easy because they have perfected the art of going to court. They are scared of fulfilling their responsibilities; they are the ones that can easily personalise the issues and official function of debt recovery; they believe that people must have a motive for doing what they do. Clearly, if you’re not listening to what they want, you are opposing them. So it has not been easy. But I can tell you also that we are determined, and the government also is very determined that these monies have to be recovered even if it has to lead to an amendment of the AMCON Act.”

AMCON is expected to wind down by 2023, but in view of the slow and long legal proceedings, there is scepticism about the ability of the debt purchaser to conclude before the expiration of its tenure.

“You can only need a review if you want to sharpen your ability to recover. We discover some gaps that require some sharpening, and we will do that. I can tell you that the National Assembly members have been of tremendous support. The committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate are ready always to support us, to see how we can be more effective in recovering those debts.”


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23 Comments
  • Artful ºDodger

    Which of National Assembly is cooperative, no be there Saraki dem dey, him don pay him own? Instead of the so called legislators making effective laws that will benefit the nation they occupy themselves with nonsense in such bills as tobacco, toad, lizard, monkey, gorilla etc right bills which add NO VALUES whatsoever to Nigeria.

  • AZZO

    Did I read anywhere it said 10people holding the nation to economic ransome? Why no mention of these 10 people?

    • Joseph

      Read again and you will see why the names were not mentioned

  • Dearyombo

    If you can’t mention names then shut up….Stop misleading the citizens in a bid to cover up your lapses

  • Godwin Pius

    If you cant mention their names they its more honorable to shut up, rather than express your helplessness and ineptitude

    • james_grim_teacher

      Jonathan knows their names and how many jets they own.

    • michael nwafor

      He can’t be more Catholic than the Pope.Mr president started the half baked stories.

  • agbobu

    AND BUHARI IS SENT BY THE ALMIGHTY GOD TO SALVAGE AND REDEEM NIGERIA AND
    BUHARI HAS THE BLESSING OF THE ALMIGTY GOD, AS SUCH NO MORTAL CAN STOP
    BUHARI. WE MUST KILL CORRUPTION OTHERWISE CORRUPTION WILL KILL NIGERIA.
    END OF STORY! THOSE WHO COMMITTED THE CRIME MUST PAY THE PRICE AND DO
    THE TIME. THEY CAN ONLY RUN BUT THEY CAN NOT HIDE. CORRUPT PERSONS MUST
    BE NAMED, EXPOSED, SHAMED AND VERY SEVERELY PUNISHED. ANY THING SHORT OF
    THIS IS VERY UNACCEPTABLE AND NOT AN OPTION.

    • Mr Abel Ighodaro

      The problem with Nigeria is that we do not have a punitive culture, the looters will comeback and rule, it’s like a vicious cycle, look back from the sixties, it is still the same old story.How can this MD tell almost 200 Million Nigerians that 10 people hold the country to economic ransome, I think this MD is not fit for purpose, he is part of the problem.

      • agbobu

        HE MUST NAME THEM, EXPOSE THEM AND SHAME THEM.. END OF STORY

  • bigbang

    Reform the judiciary. Either speed up the appeal process that delay trials or stop people from filing appeals and going to the supreme court until the trial is over.

  • ’70

    The issue with all these governmental agencies like the AMCON, Police Force and the EFCC is that they are manned by incompetent people, who didn’t get there by hard work. There are so many intelligent lawyers, accountants etc roaming the streets that would pin down any crook quite easily.

    • ade

      I agree with you totally. Many of them are mediocres put in their positions by cults!

  • Mazi JO

    Are your ‘big boys’ exempt from the Law of the Land? Aren’t there agreements to repay these Economy-wrecking Loans? Let us not be throttled again in this journey to realism and transparency. Warn these guys the People might collect on behalf of the jittery Government you are acting in its stead. By the way who are these outlaws?

  • Akin Malaolu

    There will be a FULL STOP one day to all their nonsense.

  • olayiwola

    Another agency trying to play to the gallery, as if judicial processes is another crime!!! Season of the excuses!!!

  • kumi

    Amco director is a thief if you can not collect your money from thiefs them you are one of them

  • Eze Ambrose

    It is bewildering when these government functionaries open their mouth and expose their ignorance. Nigerian laws allow for Creditors to go after their debtors even through bankruptcies. Admitting that it cannot handle the job of resolving debts owed to the government through the courts is a gross admission of incompetence. AMCON is the equivalent of a snake oil doctor. There is nothing like a bad bank bank. Those you buy these debts from con and game the system and the ultimate debtors out game AMCON. Hire competent attorneys to do the job. Patronage would not do it. Nearly all the debts that AMCON acquire have criminal aspects. They ignore these instruments of enforcement in their collective efforts of gaming the public.

  • Olu-Lion

    Serious speaking our investigative mechanism, prosecution methods and judicial system needs to be looked into, judges adjourn cases as if some people are not suffering due to the adjournment. and all this our so called SAN are not helping matters, they know the facts of the case but they prefer to settle the judge to win cases. If the AMCON boss can be complaining like, then how safe is my savings? Don’t this guys have collateral, who approved the loans?

  • chukschris

    Kuru is useless akwuya. Tell us their names if you are sure of what you are saying

  • Stanley

    It seems that Ahmed Kuru is actually speaking for the 10 big boys. That is why his blame went to the judiciary and that is why he will not mention their names. But how on earth should it be criminal if the 10 big boys go to court? The boys is questions are seeking for fair hearing and justice. THat is why they are prepared to go to supreme court. But how on earth should AMCON wants to avoid the courts process? There must be something unlawful that they are doing. No time spend for justice is wasted. Nigeria cannot suspend her Judicial system for the sake of AMCON. AMCON is the one that will rather to be disbanded.

  • walter enang

    Behind every explanation, there is an apology. APP is an excuse and begging government. Always giving excuses or begging instead of grabbing the solution to all our problems that is staring them in the face…..restructuring of Nigeria to allow states to exploit what resources are available under their soil. Booharry wants to be the emperor of Nigeria and this is making people suffer hunger and want unnecessarily.

  • Sunny Oke.

    Emeka Offor, Femi Otedola, …. AMCON …name the others Nigerians are waiting.