4 June 2018

Nigeria: Amcon Plans 'Name and Shame' for Politically Exposed Debtors

The quest for debt recovery by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) would soon test the option of "name and shame," especially for the Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), just as elections draw near.

The move, which may jolt the political environment when executed, according to the "bad bank," is in top gear, as it has become necessary with the great resistance of the debtors who are adjudged capable but unwilling to pay.

AMCON's Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Kuru, who made the disclosure, while presenting the corporation's 2017 audited accounts, said it is part of the new drive in dealing decisively with the top obligors.Kuru said that 350 debtors of AMCON account for almost 80 per cent of the over N5 trillion huge debt burden, adding that these must be recovered because AMCON borrowed to purchase the Eligible Bank Assets (EBAs) during the first and second phases of the take over of the bad loans from the banks.

Noting that AMCON has about five more years to wind down operations, he warned that PEPs and business heavyweights who think they are untouchable will not be spared in the enforcement process that are being fine-tuned by the recovery agency.He said that at the moment, the corporation is restructuring its operational processes to enable it go after these crops of unrepentant debtors in a manner that has never been witnessed before in the country.

Explaining the challenges of the agency's task, he said: "I think people need to pity us because we are at that stage in the life of the Corporation where we are dealing with the hardcore because the low hanging fruits have been dealt with earlier in the life of AMCON."I want you to understand that we are sitting on a substantial amount of assets, which we must one way or the other resolve on or before our sunset, which is around 2023/24."

"As we close in on these individuals and entities that owe us, I want you to know that they will call us names, blackmail us, threaten us, malign and harass us. However, I can tell you that as hard as they will try, we will not be deterred in going about our normal duties as mandated by law."

Kuru said it was important for the media to have a full understanding of the magnitude of the challenges faced by AMCON and help it to recover public funds held up by individuals who heavily borrowed money from banks with no intention to repay, which contributed in no small way in destroying the economy.He reiterated that AMCON played strategic role in rebuilding the nation's economy with the recapitalisation of the banks, which prevented systemic collapse of not only the banks, but also the unimaginable costs on the economy.

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