Reps Probe N2.4trn Unpaid AMCON Debts

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The House of Representatives on Thursday, October 27, 2016 mandated its
Committee on Banking and Currency to investigate the non-liquidation of N2.473
trillion owed the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

The Committee, which is to fully investigate the failure of
“obligaors” and debtors to liquidate their loans is to report back to the House
in four weeks. 
The mandate was subsequent upon the adoption of a motion raised
under Matters of Urgent Public Importance calling for an “investigation of
AMCON “obligors” and debtors over the non-liquidation of N2,473,084,522.73”,
sponsored by Johnbull Shekarau.
AMCON was established by the Federal Government in response
to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. 
Government, through the Central Bank of
Nigeria (CBN), provided the initial capital and a three-year zero coupon
guaranteed bond to allow the corporation raise N5.67 trillion for
interventions.
Shekarau in his lead debate observed that six years after,
AMCON is yet to recover the debt owed it in order to redeem the three-year zero
coupon bond it acquired.
According to the lawmaker, only 20 individuals can be linked
to a large chunk of the debt owed AMCON, hence the need for the House to take
definitive action to compel as well as assist the company to liquidate debts
owed it.
Taking a similar position, Hassan Saleh, maintained that the
dishonesty of a few individuals has negatively affected millions of other
Nigerians currently struggling to survive the economic recession.
Saleh identified top operators in the aviation and the oil
and gas sectors as dominating the list of chronic debtors, wondering how they
lived lavish lifestyles while their debts weakened the nation’s economy.
“We cannot continue to pay their bills, while they live the
life of the rich and favoured,” he argued.   
House Minority  Leader, Leo Ogor,
called for a thorough investigation into the matter, adding that many of the debtors
have carried on with living luxuriously, not caring about the damage they are
causing others.
“They fly around in their private jets, while the common man
is suffering on the streets. 
These people sit down in the comfort of their
bedrooms, while the nation bears the pain of their debts and this
unacceptable,” he said.
But Daily Sun can reveal that this is not the first time the
House is investigating AMCON’s debts. 
“An Adhoc Committee on the Undue
Accumulation of Debts and Alleged Fraudulent Sale of Banks by AMCON headed by
Albert Adeogun, which also had Shekarau as a member, submitted its report weeks
back.
The membership of the committee was announced by Speaker
Yakubu Dogara following the resolution of the House on Tuesday October 6, 2016
The report obtained by Daily Sun indicates that the current
N5 trillion debt portfolio of the corporation is N4.2 trillion higher than the
alleged N800 billion ceiling stipulated for it by the CBN, according to the
report. 
The report also showed that the corporation’s balance sheet has a
shortfall of N3.8 trillion ($19 billion) and that the geometric accumulation of
debts by AMCON puts immense pressure on the country’s foreign reserves
estimated at $30 billion.

The report read in part: “In addition, the outstanding bad
loans owed to AMCON by different companies and individuals (acquired from banks)
as at December 31, 2014 stood at N3.403 trillion, which also has the potential
of becoming outright losses.”

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