The Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions has lamented that highly-placed Nigerians were frustrating the effort of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to recover N4.4 trillion owed the agency.
The committee’s chairman, Senator Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna), said this at a stakeholders’ meeting on “Consolidating the effectiveness of the asset recovery model adopted by AMCON” at Zuma Rock Resort, Niger State.
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He said, “From the N4.4 trillion we are trying to recover, about 350 people in this country are responsible. This is about 83 per cent of the debt.
“This is very worrisome. This means that powerful Nigerians are the ones not willing to pay these loans. They have been employing different strategies and tactics to stall the repayment of loans running into trillions of Naira.
“A lot of highly placed Nigerians are not willing to support AMCON because most of those people are the ones that have taken this money from the banks and of course you know the government came in to set up AMCON to safe banks from getting down.
“But unfortunately, from what is happening, AMCON is finding it very difficult because those people are highly placed Nigerians, they try to frustrate AMCON’s effort through the judiciary and that is what we are looking.”
The lawmaker, however, assured that the Red Chamber would support AMCON to recover the N4.4 trillion debt.
The agency’s Managing Director, Ahmed Lawan Kuru, said the recent amendment to AMCON Act would further enhance the corporation’s recovery powers in many aspects.
He said that the corporation has so far recovered over N1.4 trillion, which comprised of N665 billion cash; property forfeiture, N278 billion; disposed assets N141 billion, share forfeiture, N139 billion and other strategic assets, N207 billion.
Kuru, however, said the slow pace of court processes and sometimes conflicting orders by the courts frustrated recovery process.
He, therefore, said the Judiciary must be encouraged to respect the provisions of the law that require it to fast-track cases and issue certificate of judgement on property.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Mr Bello Hassan, said government was keen to provide confidence in the financial system.
This, he said, was by putting in place financial safety net to promote financial system stability and support economic growth and development.
He said, “The NDIC has taken important steps at ensuring safety of the Nigerian banks and protection of depositors in line with its mandate.
“The Corporation had commenced supervisory measures for digital banks as well as the enhancement of existing consumer protection measures, especially as regards digital deposit, through enhanced collaboration with other safety net players.”