Hon. Albert Adeogun

Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has disclosed that its current liabilities stand at N6.6 trillion following the purchase of bad loans worth N3.3 trillion at the sum of N1.7 trillion.

The House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee investigating the alleged fraudulent sale of banks by AMCON, however raised eyebrows at the rise in liabilities particularly as AMCON owes the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) about N4.5 trillion.

The committee headed by Hon. Albert Adeogun heard that the CBN was closely monitoring and supervising AMCON to ensure that its liabilities are cleared before time the corporation is to wound down in 2024.

The Chairman of the committee, Hon. Albert Adeogun, queried the amount of liabilities.
“About two months ago when we met, you said the liabilities of AMCON stood at N4.5 trillion, today you said it is N6.6 trillion. What are the components of this liability? Who are your creditors,” he said.

The Director of Banking Operations, CBN, Tokunbo Martins, however explained to the committee that while the debt owed the CBN stood at N4.5 trillion, the N6.6 trillion included calculated interest which would have accrued to the debt by 2024.
“AMCON looks at its cash flow periodically…and the banks generate N250 billion annually to AMCON, they have assets that can pay off their liabilities, and by 2024 when AMCON is expected to be wound down, the liabilities would have been extinguished,” she said.

Martins added that due diligence and process were followed in the sale of Mainstreet and Enterprise Banks.
She explained that the buyers, Skye Bank and Heritage Banks, were not permitted to use depositors’ funds.

“Rather shareholders’ funds or external funds that would not be called in, in a short while…and for the fact that we have not withdrawn their licences is a testament that the buyers are fit and proper,” Martins added.

The committee also queried why AMCON deemed it fit to takeover Aero Contractors for its significant debts, and did not do same to Arik Air.

The Managing Director of AMCON, Mr. Ahmed Kuru, explained that Aero Contractor showed weak corporate governance, because from a fleet of 15 planes at the start of 2015 the airline now has three planes by the end of the second quarter.
“If we did not intervene, there would be no airline called Aero by 2016…AMCON owns 60 per cent equity in Aero in addition to a debt of N12billion. So we also needed to save our money. Arik is a good airline, and they have not shown any weakness in what they are doing,” he said.

Kuru, however, added that in the next two weeks, AMCON would release its resolution on Arik Air.

In another development, the House of Representatives yesterday mandated its Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation to investigate all failed concessions and the terms of outright sales of government own companies.

It also mandated the committee to determine why some of the agreements failed as well as proffer solutions on how to avoid further failures, and enhance the productivity and profitability of the affected enterprises.

The resolution followed a motion sponsored by the Hon. Gabriel Kolawole (Ondo APC) who noted that non-conformity to the terms of some of the agreements has caused enormous financial losses to the country-due to non-remittances of appropriate taxes and other financial commitments.

Kolawole noted that there had been uproar by individuals, staff and unions of privatised/partially privatised and conceded government-owned enterprises owing to concerns on the non-conformity to the terms of sales and/or agreements by the concessionaires of the enterprises.

The committee is expected to report back to the House in eight weeks for further legislative action.