Business & Economy - Companies - November 9, 2022

Ensure recalcitrant debtors don’t benefit from government contracts, projects, AMCON told

By Bassey Udo

Recalcitrant debtors must not be allowed to benefit from government contracts and projects, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has told the management of Asset management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

The Vice president gave the charge to the debt recovery agency at the submission of the Interim Report by the inter-agency committee set up by the government on the recovery of debts owed to the AMCON.

Receiving the report in his office in Abuja on Wednesday the
Osinbajo said the only condition to qualify for any government contract would henceforth be the presentation of due diligence clearance from AMCON.

The Chairman of the Committee, Bolaji Owasonoye, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who is also the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission urged the Federal Government to ensure the strict implementation of relevant laws in the country, including the AMCON Act, to ensure recalcitrant debtors did not benefit from government contracts and projects.

Osinbajo said the government would review the report and ensure that it acted on all recommendations of the committee.

He said the issue of AMCON debtors doing further business with government agencies was a due diligence matter, adding that there would have to be compliance with the requirements of the law.

Specifically, the Committee proposed an advisory to the Federal Government that going forward, “all AMCON debtors must not be allowed to transact business or enjoy patronage with any government agency whatsoever, except clearance was obtained from AMCON on the debt status of such obligors,” the Committee said.

He said that between 2020 and 2021, AMCON made significant recoveries, which was highlighted in the report.

Within the period under review, the Chairman said AMCON witnessed 10 percent growth in the recovery performance across various asset classes.

For instance, in the year 2020, the Chairman said the sum of N146 billion was recovered, while in 2021 the sum of N161 billion was also recovered.

The recovery outlook for 2022, he said also looks positive, but adding that the Committee would not relent in its effort in engendering more recoveries.

“Committee will continue its assignment with the institution of bankruptcy proceedings, tax infraction, inquiry as well as other strategies to ensure the obligors are brought under the recovery net of AMCON.”

The mandate of the Committee, which was inaugurated in September 2019, includes the review of status of debt owed to AMCON, collate information relating to respective debtors and their current status, deliberate on practical, legal and other strategies for the recovery of the outstanding debt, among others.

The Chairman further noted that the Committee immediately commenced work upon inauguration, but the advent of the COVID-19 global pandemic inevitably slowed down the pace of activities and enforcement measures.

Members of the Inter-Agency Committee consist of representatives from various government agencies including the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission; AMCON ; Federal Ministry of Justice; Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency; Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation; Central Bank of Nigeria; Department of State Services; and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; representatives of tho government agencies including the Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, AMCON, Ahmed Kuru

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