In a deliberate attempt to recover about N5 trillion owed to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) by obligors, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), through its Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, has revealed plans to partner with AMCON.
The ICPC Chairman made this disclosure on Wednesday, while receiving delegates from the Board and Management of AMCON, led by the Chairman, Dr. Muiz Banire, SAN at the ICPC headquarters in Abuja.
The debt profile: The ICPC boss described AMCON’s huge debt profile as a “sobering situation”, especially as it represents about 50% or N4.458 trillion of the nation’s 2019 budget, stressing that the state of affairs had become an existential challenge for the country, while the obligors holding the country to ransom are still walking free and waxing strong in society.
The AMCON’s Board Chairman, Dr. Muiz Banire, who led the delegation, alongside Ahmed Lawan Kuru, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, made an earlier submission while highlighting some of the high profile obligors, with some 350 individuals accounting for about 80% of the entire debt obligation.
The need for partnerships: Dr. Banire stressed that AMCON would at this period in its lifespan welcome collaboration of the ICPC to go after the obligors as the Asset Management firm has no powers to invite, arrest or prosecute obligors, stating that the court is the only option open to the Corporation.
What is the impact? Prof. Owasanoye declared partnership with AMCON, while calling on other sister agencies to support the drive for the recovery of the N5 trillion debt, considering the positive impact the funds would have on the nation’s economy if recovered.
The ICPC helmsman pledged his support, saying that his agency was ready to work with the AMCON team, to recover much of these debts as possible before the terminal date.
The ICPC Chairman said, “We have to be practical in our approach. Something needs to be done and very fast too, given the approaching AMCON sunset because this is public funds we are talking about here. We need AMCON and ICPC to work closer and develop a strategy that would work“.
“We need the public to know the opportunity cost of the huge debt to the Nigerian economy; we need to share information with sister agencies locally and internationally, and treat this matter as a last lap race by setting up a joint taskforce to deal with this sobering issue,” he said.
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Similarly, according to Owasanoye, the Nigerian Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo had expressed concerns in a similar forum, over the huge debt profile, calling for effective actions.
In his statements, “The commission would be interested in tracing the transactional history of the different loans, especially the high profile ones with a view to establishing any irregularity, which could have contributed to its hard-core nature, with obligors refusing to pay.”
What lies ahead: The ICPC boss was of the opinion that the obligors involved should be made to face the music, so that it would serve as a deterrent to others. He further added that if the matter was not properly challenged and treated, other people would repeat this circle of borrowing without paying, believing that there would be no consequences thereafter.
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