N397billion Debt: AMCON Didn’t Order Demolition Of Any Property In Ikoyi
The news report published by one of the most respected newspapers at the weekend concerning the demolition of a certain property situated at No. 27, Femi Okunnu Street, Ikoyi, Lagos purportedly by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) is a malicious misrepresentation of not just facts, but one fed the media by Mr. Babajide Koku, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to mislead the Federal High Court, which is hearing the case.
Koku, however, did not disclose to Justice Faji that the property now belongs to Ehimome Properties Limited, a company a Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) search revealed belongs to Mrs. Mary Ehimome Arumemi-Ikhide, Mr. Martin Arumemi-Ikhide and Dr. Margaret Omoemin Okonkwo (wife, son, and daughter of the main promoter of Rockson Engineering Company Limited) as shareholders and directors of Ehimome Properties Limited.
For the records, Sir Joseph I. Akinola Arumemi-Johnson and members of his immediate family own four companies that are indebted to AMCON over N397billion, which AMCON bought over from various Nigerian banks. The companies include Arik Air Limited with debt of over N248billion; Rockson Engineering Company Limited over N136billion; Ojemai Farms Limited with over N11billion as well as Ojemai Investments Limited indebted with over N2billion.
The negative impact of this humongous debt to the Nigerian economy, which these companies and their promoters have refused to pay back are better imagined if the federal government did not set up AMCON to go after people like this who are bent on destroying the economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The referenced property on No. 27, Femi Okunnu Street, Ikoyi, Lagos State is one of the many assets hidden from AMCON by the obligor but, which was eventually traced and sold as mandated by the AMCON Act as amended to recover for the country.
Once a property is sold by AMCON, the mandate of the Corporation does not include dictating to the buyer what to do with the acquired property. Therefore, it was misleading for Koku to claim that AMCON was in anyway involved in the demolition of the Ikoyi property. What cannot be disputed however is the ownership of Ehimome Properties Limited owned by Mrs. Mary Ehimome Arumemi-Ikhide with 500,000 units of shares in the company; Mr. Martin Arumemi-Ikhide and Dr. Margaret Okonkwo both of who own 250,000 shares each out of a total of 1,000,000 shares, which makes up the total of 100% ownership of the company.
We consider the sentiment that the property was former residence of the British colonial Governor-General in Nigeria as insensitive currently when the whole world is protesting the ravaging impact of colonialism in African countries including Nigeria.
These companies have ripped-off Nigeria for a long time because the debts have been owed AMCON since 2011/2012 and several genuine efforts made by AMCON to make these companies meet their obligations did not yield any meaningful result. This lack of progress was what led AMCON into throwing two of their companies – Arik Air and Rockson Engineering into receivership.
Aside from these companies feeding off Nigerian taxpayer over the years, Rockson Engineering in particular has not been able to deliver on hundreds of millions of US dollar contracts awarded it for the construction of power generating plants by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company. Some of these contracts were awarded as far back as 2006 and if the company had completed these projects, like its peers did, a minimum of 2000MW would have been added to the nations generating capacity to the benefit of all Nigerians.
AMCON is a law-abiding institution and would do anything within its mandate to recover the trillions of naira some recalcitrant debtors are struggling not to pay. AMCON anticipating that some chronic loan defaulters will hide proceeds of loans in properties in the name of their spouses and children makes a provision for such properties to be applied towards liquidating the loan.