13 February 2013

Nigeria: 'Babalakin Owes Amcon N60 Billion'

Lagos — The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has said companies linked to business mogul, Mr. Wale Babalakin currently owed the corporation over N60 billion.

The AMCON's lawyer, Chief Olisa Agbakoba said this at a press conference in Lagos.

He said Babalakin's insolvency arose due to the loans granted his companies by the First Bank Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Plc which have not been paid.

Agbakoba presented documents at the press conference to buttress his claims, while advising Babalakin to drop the litigation option and return to AMCON for negotiation.

He said, "The most convenient way out of the dispute is for Babalakin to approach AMCON and seek the structuring of his debt."

He further challenged Babalakin to approach AMCON with evidence of his claim that the federal government owes him N132 billion by virtue of a March 3, 2009 judgment.

He also disputed Babalakin's decision to repossess the property on 43A, AfribankStreet, Victoria Island, which was shut last Friday by court bailiffs upon an ex-parte order made on February 5 by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

He said: "He (Babalakin) got loans from First Bank and GTBank. He has not been able to service the loans. He is fighting a battle that he cannot win. He should come to AMCON for settlement.

"I challenge him today, if he comes to AMCON, we will be ready to welcome him. If he comes today, he will be shocked because of the terms he will get. AMCON is not out to kill businesses. Its aim is to help businesses resolve the problem created by debt," he said.

He wondered why Babalakin abandoned his earlier moves to ensure debt restructuring and opted for litigation.

According to him, at the moment, Babalakin has about 30 cases in various courts in respect of the issue, adding that the latter's resort to litigation was intended to frustrate AMCON's effort to recover the debt. Agbakoba described Babalakin's repossession of the VI property as "an unprecedented act of brigandage." Agbakoba said he was disappointed that such an act involved a senior lawyer of Babalakin's status.

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