AMCON, ICPC Partner To Recover N5trn Debt
The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, on Wednesday in Abuja, disclosed plans by the commission to collaborate with the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria towards the recovery of N5trn owed AMCON by obligors.
He disclosed this when he received the board and management of AMCON, led by the corporation’s Board Chairman, Dr Muiz Banire.
While describing the huge debt profile of AMCON as sobering, especially as the figure represented about 50 per cent of Nigeria’s 2019 budget, Owasanoye said the situation had become existential challenge for the country, since the few people who were holding the country to ransom were still walking free and waxing strong in the society.
Considering the positive impact the funds would have in the economy if recovered, Owasanoye said the time had come for the ICPC and other relevant sister agencies to partner AMCON and support the debt recovery drive.
He pledged that the ICPC under his leadership was ready to work with the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, AMCON, Ahmed Kuru, and the board members to recover as much of these debts as possible before sunset.
Recalling that the Vice- President, Prof. Yomi Osinbajo, had also raised concerns over the huge debt in a similar forum, the ICPC chairman said, the commission would be interested in tracing the transactional history of the different loans, especially the high profile ones with a view to establishing any irregularity, which could have contributed to its hard-core nature, with obligors refusing to pay.
He said, “We have to be practical in our approach. Something needs to be done and very fast too given the approaching AMCON’s sunset, because this is public funds we are talking about here.
“We need AMCON and ICPC to work closer and develop a strategy that would work. We need the public to know the opportunity cost of the huge debt to the Nigerian economy; we need to share information as sister agencies locally and internationally and treat this matter as a last lap race by setting up a joint taskforce to deal with this sobering issue.”
Banire, who led the delegation, highlighted some of the high-profile obligors of the corporation including some 350 individuals that accounted for 80 per cent of the entire debt obligation.
He also reiterated that AMCON would at the current time in its lifespan, need collaboration of the ICPC to go after the obligors, especially since AMCON on its own did not have the powers to invite, arrest or prosecute obligors as the only option open to AMCON remained the court.