House to Investigate AMCON’s Failure to Recover N2.4tn Debts

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Says N1tn with 20 persons
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the circumstances leading to the failure of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON)  to recover over N2.4trillion public funds used to rescue ailing firms.

This is as it lamented that N1 trillion of the funds is in hands of 20 Nigerians who continue to live lavish lifestyles, without repaying their debts.

The House therefore directed its Committee on Banking and Currency to investigate the failure of obligos/bank debtors to liquidate their loans in order to enable AMCON redeem the three years zero coupon bond it raised.

The lawmakers took the decision yesterday following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Johnbull Shekarau (Plateau PDP) who identified banks to be the biggest culprits of the failure to repay the loans.

“The House is worried that six years after, AMCON is yet to recover over N2.4 trillion from obligos/bank debtors to enable her redeem the three years zero coupon bond she acquired.

“The House is concerned that the inability to recover this amount has serious implication on the economy, especially now that it is in recession,” Shekarau said.
Arguing in favour of the motion, Hon. Hassan Saleh (Benue PDP) said the N2.4 trillion would make a huge difference in Nigeria’s current economic state.

“We are a country of over 160 million people. Now you have a situation whereby just 20 people owe as much as N1trillion of the debts. Imagine what this money will do to our lives if it is recovered and ploughed back into the economy,” he said.

Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor contributing to the debate said some of the people whose businesses were rescued by AMCON, have abandoned the businesses and embarked on other ventures.

“The common man cannot continue to bear the burden of these people while the government is still patronising them,” Ogor said.

The federal government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, had guaranteed the bond to allow AMCON raise N5.67trillion to intervene in some troubled firms, particularly banks.
Meanwhile, the House has postponed the debate on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), President Muhammadu Buhari’s requests for external borrowing of $30 billion, and virement of N180 billion fund in the 2016 budget, to next week.

The House Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, had last Tuesday directed that the requests contained in separate letters, be scheduled for debate yesterday alongside discussion on MTEF.

The spokesperson of the House, Hon. Namdas Abdulrazak, at a press briefing yesterday afternoon, did not give reasons for the postponement.

He noted that all the issues would receive the required attention next week, as they are critical to the economy.
THISDAY however gathered that the lawmakers were yet to receive full details of the breakdown of the expenditure for the planned borrowing, hence the postponement of debate.