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N5 trillion debt: Buhari approves law empowering AMCON to access debtors’ account

@MBuhari has assented to a new Act that gives the @amcon_ng more powers to enforce debt recovery from debtors’ accounts.

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BREAKING: President Buhari retains portfolio as Petroleum Minister

President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to a new Act that gives the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) more power to enforce recovery of debt from prominent Nigerians and corporate organisations.

The President reportedly signed the amendment of the AMCON law on Wednesday, alongside the National Biosafety Management Agency (Amendment) Act and Defence Intelligence Agency Civilian Pensions Board (Establishment) Act, 2019.

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Buhari approves law, AMCON N5 trillion debt

Ahmed Kuru, Managing Director/CEO, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

According to a statement credited to the presidential aide on National Assembly, Senator Ita Enang, the new law empowers the Corporation to place any bank account or any other account comparable to a bank account of a debtor of an eligible financial institution under surveillance.

[READ MORE: FG goes after AMCON’s N5trillion debtors, sets up task force on funds recovery]

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The details: The approval of the new law came weeks after a task force constituting all the antigraft agencies was set up by the Presidency, to fast track the effective recovery of the N5 trillion the corporation is battling with.

  • The details of the new law show that AMCON will obtain access to bank accounts, computer system component, electronic or mechanical device of any debtor with a view to establishing the location of funds belonging to the debtor.
  • Also, going by the new law, AMCON can now obtain information in respect of any private account together with all bank financial and commercial records of any debtor of any eligible financial institution, banking secrecy, and the protection of customer confidentiality is not a ground for the denial of the power of the Corporation under this section.

“It makes it mandatory for AMCON to, despite the convention of confidentiality of banking, business and contracting relations to furnish the Federal Government, Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a list of recalcitrant debtors and then impose an obligation to seek clearance on the Federal Government, Ministries, Departments and Agencies when the Federal Government, any Ministry, Department or Agency proposes to contract with, or pay debtors on the list furnished by the Corporation.”

The back story: Over 350 Nigerians are said to be responsible for over 80% of the N5 trillion debt profile of AMCON. The huge debts have lingered for several years.

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  • Basically, AMCON was set-up by the Federal Government in 2010 to acquire non-performing loans from banks in order to ensure the viability of the country’s financial sector.
  • FG through the operation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) conceptualized the idea for the establishment of a body that will prevent the financial crisis in the country.
  • In October 2018, the corporation published about 20 names of corporations and agencies who hugely contribute to the debt.
  • Meanwhile, in recent times, AMCON has threatened to publish the full list and also release a documentary on prominent Nigerians who owe the corporation.

[READ ALSO: AMCON sets to publish names of prominent Nigerians owing N5 trillion]

EFCC to the rescue: Meanwhile, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has vowed to assist AMCON to recover monies being owed by individuals and business entities in Nigeria. The acting spokesman of the EFCC, Tony Orilade in a statement credited to Magu on Wednesday said,

“We are ready to work with you, and we will render assistance in terms of enforcement, in order to recover these loans, because they are affecting the economy of the country from flourishing.

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“In order to recover these loans, there is the need for inter-agency collaboration, going beyond the EFCC to the police, the court, Central Bank of Nigeria, NDIC, because there is a need for AMCON to re-strategize and block loopholes.”

The bottom line: From the foregoing, AMCON is now empowered to blow hot on the debtors who are regarded as prominent Nigerians and big corporate organizations.

Already, AMCON announced the take over of two steel firms in Abuja and Calabar.

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[READ FURTHER: N3.6 billion Debt: AMCON takes over Bao Yao Firms in Abuja and Calabar]

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Patricia

Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Coronavirus

Former Liberian President to sit on WHO review panel of COVID-19 response effort

Ellen Sirleaf has been picked alongside Helen Clark, to serve as co-chairs of the independent panel.

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Former Liberian President to sit on WHO review panel of Covid-19 response effort

Following stern criticism by US President, Donald Trump, over their handling of the COVID-19 response efforts, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced it will implement an independent panel to review said response efforts to the pandemic.

To this end, Liberia’s former President and West Africa’s first female President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has been picked alongside former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, to serve as co-chairs of the independent panel. They will be responsible for selecting the other members of the panel, according to the WHO.

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WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom, announced the panel will produce an interim report in a November meeting of global health ministers. Meanwhile, the substantive report would be produced by May 2021.

Tedros also said that the size of the pandemic calls for the need for a “commensurate evaluation, an honest evaluation”, adding that the WHO would be very serious with the preparation of the report.

READ MORE:COVID-19: WHO warns worst is yet to come as firm charges $2,340 for virus treatment

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The WHO members in May agreed to an independent review of the organization’s response to the pandemic. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the review of the body’s response would be challenging but looks forward to her role in doing what she can contribute to the response of the pandemic’s challenges.

The panel will also report monthly updates on the body’s response and will not only review the WHO’s response but also the International community’s response. Tedros added that it’s time for an honest reflection on the global response, saying a response will help with lessons on the pandemic.

 

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Economy & Politics

Presidency dismisses allegation of Osinbajo receiving N4 billion from recovered loots

The accusation was described to be an obvious campaign of lies and calumny.

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Twitter deactivate Yemi Osinbajo's Twitter account, How Nigeria's LPG sector can create 2 million jobs -Osinbajo, budget support, NEC okays $250 million investment in NSIA , MSMEClinic gets 200,000 capacity yam storage facility in Benue, Accusations of Yemi Osinbajo receiving N4 Billion from recovered loots are baseless- Presidency

The office of the Vice President has reacted to a series of tweets accusing Professor Yemi Osinbajo of instructing the embattled acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, to release the sum of N4 billion out of N39 billion that was recovered from alleged looters. 

These allegations have been described as “false and baseless”. 

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READ ALSO: UPDATE: President Buhari appoints Prof. Gambari as new Chief of Staff

A statement that was signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, said, with all emphasis at our disposal, let it be firmly stated that these are totally false and baseless fabrications purposing to reflect goings-on at the probe panel investigating Mr Ibrahim Magu”. 

Ibrahim Magu was relieved of his duties this week, after a probe was conducted on his activities as Acting Chairman of the nation’s anti-graft agency. He has since been replaced with Mohammed Umar. 

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READ MORE: Just In: DSS invites EFCC’s Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu for questioning)

Meanwhile, the statement by the Presidency also complained about the recent rise in people being paid to “peddle blatant falsehoods” against the Vice President and says Mr Osinbajo “will not be distracted by these obvious campaigns of lies and calumny”. 

The statement added that the online publications “being criminally defamatory in nature”  have been referred to law enforcement agencies for investigation. 

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Financial Services

Stanbic IBTC observes closed period, as directors set to consider H1 results

The directors will also consider a proposal to pay an interim dividend to shareholders.

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Stanbic IBTC

Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc announced earlier today that its board of directors will meet on Wednesday, July 29, as part of preparations towards the release of the company’s consolidated and separate audited financial statements for half-year 2020. The directors will also consider a proposal to pay the company’s shareholders an interim dividend.

A statement issued by the Stanbic IBTC to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) noted that the scheduled board meeting is in tandem with guidelines contained in section 1.2 of the NSE’s rules book.

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In the meantime, the bank Hold-Co has already commenced observing its closed period ahead of the release of the half-year financial statements. Specifically, Stanbic IBTC began observing its closed period on June 1st, 2020, the implication being that all insiders and their relatives have been prohibited from trading the company’s shares for more than one month now.

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Note that the Stanbic IBTC’s closed period will continue until the half-year financial statements are released. Part of the statement which was signed by Chidi Okezie (Company Secretary), said:

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“In accordance with the provisions of Section 1.2 of the Rules of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (The NSE) relating to Board Meetings and General Meetings of Issuers, we would like to notify The NSE and our Shareholders, that a meeting of the Board of Directors of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC (the Company) is scheduled to hold on Wednesday 29 July 2020 at 1:00 pm. The meeting will discuss amongst other items, the Company’s Consolidated and Separate Audited Financial Statements for the Half-year ended 30 June 2020 as well as a proposed interim dividend.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: NSE extends time for submission of audited financial statements

“In view of the above, the closed period for the release of half-year results, which commenced on Monday, 01 June 2020 will continue to be in effect until the release of the Company’s Half-year audited financial statements.”

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Recall that the last earnings report that was released by Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc was for Q1 2020. The unaudited report showed that gross earnings stood at N61.4 billion as against N58.7 billion in Q1 2019, even though interest income for the period declined by 12% year on year to N27.5 billion. Meanwhile, profit for the period stood at N20.6 billion, an increase when compared to N19.2 billion in Q1 2019.

Stanbic IBTC Holdings’ share price closed at N30.25 at the end of today’s trading session on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Year to date, the stock has declined by nearly -20%.

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