By Bassey Udo
The Court of Appeal in Lagos has granted the request by Jimoh Ibrahim for time to file his appeal against its ruling granting the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) permission to confiscate his assets and accounts.
Last Friday, the Court ruled that AMCON was right to have confiscated 12 of Ibrahim’s assets, apart from freezing all his accounts, over his over N69.4billion indebtedness to the corporation.
The ruling on the appeal followed a November 18, 2020, judgment by Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos, authorizing AMCON to take over Ibrahim’s assets over his indebtedness to AMCON.
Following the enforcement action against Ibrahim’s assets and businesses by AMCON, Ibrahim filed an appeal to contest the ruling.
But the Appeal Court in a unanimous verdict last Friday upheld AMCON’s arguments through its lead counsel, Kemi Pinheiro, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), for the dismissal of Ibrahim’s application.
The court upheld the preliminary objections to the ruling by the AMCON and dismissed the applications by both Ibrahim’s lawyers, Niyi Akintola, SAN, and counsel to Global Fleet Group, Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN.
Both Akintola and Ayorinde filed motions seeking to discharge/set aside the order by Justice R.M. Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos, which authorized AMCON to take over assets linked to Ibrahim.
The assets include the NICON Investment Limited building at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja; NICON Hotels Limited building at Plot 557, Port-Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street, Abuja, and NICON Lekki Limited the building at No. 5, Customs Street, Lagos.
Other properties were the Abuja International Hotels Limited building located at No. 3, Hospital Road, Lagos; another Property at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Abuja; the former Allied Bank Building on Mile 2, Oshodi Express Way, Apapa Road, Lagos; Energy House on No. 94, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; NICON Building at No. 40, Madeira Street, Maitama, Abuja; a Residential Apartment at Road 2, House A14, Victoria Garden City, Lagos; NICON Hotels Building at Plot 3, Road 3, Victoria Garden City, Lagos as well as the NICON Luxury Hotel’s Building, Garki I, FCT, Abuja.
In addition to the takeover of the properties, the court also ordered the freezing of all accounts belonging to Ibrahim and his companies, including Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and NICON Investment Limited, all of whom are defendants in suit No. FHL/L/CL/776/2016.
Following the ruling, Ibrahim brought before the court an application for extension of time to file his appeal.
In its response to the application, the court granted Ibrahim his request, giving him 14 days within to file his appeal.
In his reaction, the embattled is businessman assured the court that he has already instructed his lawyers to act expeditiously and comply, by promptly filing the appeal on Monday.
In a statement, Ibrahim accused AMCON of misinforming the public over the matter and the decision of the court.