N5.4tr debt: AMCON seeks alternative recovery plan
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) is seeking better ways to recover the over N5 trillion debts.
The corporation will be exploring the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) option that involves out-of-court settlement.
About 80 per cent of the debts is owed by 350 individuals.
Leading jurists have also urged AMCON to embrace the opportunities offered by ADR Centres established by the Federal High Court.
Speaking in Abuja at the weekend, Justice I. N. Buba, Justice A.M. Liman; Justice C.M.A. Olatoregun; Justice B.F.M. Nyako; Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, Dr. Chuka Agbu and Mr. Olugbenga Bello, among others, urged the assets managers to refer some of its cases to ADR as that could provide faster ways towards recovery, rather than wait endlessly for the courts, especially now that the corporation has over 3,000 court cases and counting, with imminent sunset date fast approaching.
The lawyers spoke at the Abuja version of the 2019 Annual Seminar for External Solicitors and Asset Management Partners (AMPs) of AMCON, which ended at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja at the weekend.
Justice Buba, who chaired one of the sessions said, “Every judge is supposed to promote ADR because it is faster. ADR was set up to help the courts. If you say you don’t want ADR, then you have to be ready to waste your time in court. It is not that the courts deliberately delay your cases, but the courts are overwhelmed by the barrage of cases before them.”
Justice Nyako, who also chaired a session, urged AMCON lawyers to familiarise themselves with the legal procedures before appearing in court.
He was commenting on why cases pile up in courts.
She said: “If a lawyer handling AMCON case does not follow procedure, the case will not take off. But to help ease off the pressure, the Federal High Court is trying to establish three more ADR centres for ease of dispensing justice.
”Once the ADR centres are open, I want to encourage our lawyers to refer some of these AMCON cases to the ADR centres and help decongest the courts.”
AMCON Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Lawan Kuru lamented the huge outstanding debt of the corporation of over N5 trillion, which will eventually become a burden to the Federal Government if at sunset AMCON fail to recover them.
“Going forward, we should be conscious of the availability of the opportunity to request the courts to order litigants to deposit judgment consideration with the court registrars. This will mitigate the practice of obligors deliberately dragging their matters in court.”
He urged the AMCON council and the AMPs to take advantage of the special provision on accelerated hearing of AMCON matters since the Practice Rules allow the courts to sit from day-to-day at their discretion.
Kuru said: “The starting point for all our external lawyers and AMPs is the AMCON Act. If you are not familiar with the provisions of the AMCON Act, you will not be able to understand why AMCON is a unique institution.
“The essence of enacting a special legislation for the establishment of AMCON and the regulation of its operations is to remove it from the established common law principles and procedure of debt recovery. Therefore, it is essential for our lawyers and AMPs to be abreast with the AMCON Act and Practice Rules.”