The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) says it has filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal, Abuja against last Monday’s ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja over a N69.4billion debt by Lagos businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim.
The Federal High Court, Abuja presided by Justice Okon Abang on Monday reviewed a January 4, 2021 interim order granted the AMCON to seize properties belonging to Mr Ibrahim over alleged N69.4 billion debt.
In carrying out the review, the court vacated all consequential orders earlier made on November 4, 2020 by the Federal High Court, Lagos presided by Justice Rilwan Aikawa which declined to vacate the order that empowered AMCON to seize Mr Ibrahim’s property in lieu of the debt.
But, on Wednesday AMCON which described as unsatisfactory Justice Abang’s ruling of February 22, 2021 said it has filed a notice of appeal before the Court of Appeal, Abuja in its continued bid to recover the debt.
The case involves AMCON and NICON Investment Limited (in Receivership); Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited (in Receivership); Taiwo Lakanu (appointed Receiver of NICON Investment Limited & Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and Jimoh Ibrahim; NICON Insurance Limited; Nigeria Re-Insurance Hotels Limited; Abuja International Hotels Limited and NICON Hotels Limited.
Spokesperson of AMCON, Jude Nwauzor said, the appeal against the ruling was filed on the grounds that the trial court erred in law when he neglected, ignored, failed, and or refused to consider the ruling of Justice Aikawa, which was delivered on November 4, 2020 in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/776/2016.
The Federal High Court, Lagos presided by Justice Aikawa reopened the proceeding in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/776/2016, which Justice Oguntoyibo granted a stay of execution on since October 2, 2019.
Mr Nwauzor said after the possessory order by Justice Aikawa was granted on November 4, 2020, Mr Ibrahim and others approached the Federal High Court, Abuja to request for an order to protect Taiwo Lakanu, the Receiver/Manager appointed by AMCON over the assets.
AMCON said the failure of Justice Abang to consider that possessory order of Honourable Justice Aikawa granted on November 4, 2020 in FHCL/CS/776/2016 while delivering the ruling on February 22, 2021 resulted in the manifest injustice.
Details of the appeal stated: “The trial court erred in law when the trial Judge set aside and vacated the ex-parte order of the vacation Judge, Honourable Justice Maha, on the ground that the order of stay of proceedings granted by Honourable Justice Oguntoyinbo in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/776/2016 was not disclosed to the vacation Judge.”
In November 4, 2020, following a court order, AMCON seized properties belonging to Mr Ibrahim over alleged outstanding debt of N69.4billion.
The debt was sold by Union Bank as a non-performing loan against Mr Ibrahim and his companies, including NICON Investment Limited and Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited in the early days of AMCON.
The matter between Mr Ibrahim and AMCON has been ongoing since the loan was purchased by the government debt recovery agency during the first phase of Eligible Bank Assets (EBA) purchases from Union Bank.
Mr Nwauzor said AMCON has however refused to be deterred in its efforts to recover the nearly N70billion despite several attempts by Mr Ibrahim to frustrate the exercise of its mandate in the interest of the Nigerian economy and the public in general.