The Court of Appeal Lagos State Division has dismissed an appeal brought before it by Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, the chairman of Global Fleet Group who is challenging the seizure of 12 of his assets by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), and freezing of all his accounts over his alleged N69.4billion debt.
The judges upheld the arguments of AMCON’s lead counsel Mr Kemi Pinheiro, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). Pinheiro had prayed the court to dismiss Ibrahim’s application. Ibrahim who is now a senator-elect the (first defendant) who will be serving in the 10th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and his company (second defendant) were also represented by two Senior Adcocates of Nigeria (SANs), Mr Niyi Akintola and Mr Bolaji Ayorinde, respectively.
In response to the order of Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos, which was issued on November 18, 2020, AMCON took possession of all 12 properties through its Debt Recovery Agent – Pinheiro Legal Partners. These assets include the building of NICON Investment Limited at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja; NICON Hotels Limited building at Plot 557, Port-Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street, Abuja, and the building of NICON Lekki Limited also at No. 5, Customs Street, Lagos.
Other properties that were taken over by AMCON include the building of Abuja International Hotels Limited located at No. 3, Hospital Road, Lagos; another property at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Abuja; the former Allied Bank Building on Mile 2, Oshodi Expressway, Lagos; Energy House located on No. 94, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; NICON Building at No. 40, Madeira Street, Maitama, Abuja; a residential apartment at Road 2, House A14, Victoria Garden City, Lagos; NICON Hotels building at Plot 3, Road 3, Victoria Garden City, Lagos, as well as the NICON Luxury Hotel building, Garki 1, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
AMCON in a statement disclosed that in addition to the takeover of the properties by AMCON, the lower court has also ordered the freezing of all accounts belonging to Jimoh Ibrahim and his companies, including Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited, and NICON Investment Limited all of whom were defendants in the protracted suit No. FHL/L/CL/776/2016.
Recall that when AMCON first recorded victory at the lower court, Jude Nwauzor, the Head of Corporate Communications Department at AMCON had described the judgement as “another victory for AMCON and its debt recovery drive in the country as a debt recovery agency of the federal government of Nigeria. While hinting at the time that the appeal by the obligor cannot stand at the Court of Appeal, he added that the implication is that AMCON would remain in possession of all the properties attached by the orders of the court.”
According to a statement from the Corporation on the latest ruling of the Court of Appeal, the Corporation added that no matter the class or personality of the obligor, AMCON will not be deterred by the antics of its debtors to recover the huge debt owed it by some high-profile but recalcitrant debtors in the interest of the Nigerian economy and the good people of Nigeria. The statement affirmed that AMCON will continue to go about its mandate as expected of the Corporation guided by the AMCON Act as amended.