Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, said yesterday it would not yield possession of the assets of Capital Oil and Gas Industries Ltd, temporarily forfeited to it by virtue of a Federal High Court order of November 13 this year.
AMCON said, in a statement, that it would retain possession of the assets pending determination of the appeal it filed against the court’s ruling, reversing its November 13 decision.
Justice Abdu Kafarati of the Federal High Court, Abuja had, in the suit by AMCON, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/714/2012 against Capital Oil & Gas Industries Ltd and Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah, via an order ex-parte, granted AMCON possession of certain assets of the defendants pending the final determination of the substantive suit. The assets covered by the court order include landed properties.
On December 12, 2012 Justice Abdu-Kafarati discharged the order of possession granted AMCON and ordered that the defendants be allowed to continue to run their business and pay their debt to AMCON as they can.
The judge also ordered that parties should resolve the dispute amicably in the interest of the economy.
Justice Abdu Kafarati refused AMCON’s application for the sale of the petroleum products in the defendants’ facilities, which have been leaking and posed serious security risks as well as public health hazard, but instead, adjourned hearing to January 18 next year.
Dissatisfied, AMCON appealed the court’s decision of December 12 and filed an application praying for an order of stay of execution and injunction pending appeal. It is also seeking an order mandating the Inspector General of Police, IGP, to provide security to secure the assets of the defendants, and an order for the immediate sale of the petroleum products in the defendants’ tank farms.
AMCON prayed the court to order that proceeds from the sale be paid into an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the court pending the final determination of the suit.
It hinged its decision to maintain possession over the assets on the ground that the defendants were at the risk of not being able to recover the over N65billion debt owed by the defendants to four banks.
AMCON contended that not only have the defendants admitted owing it and three banks over N90billion, it was aware of the order of the High Court of England granting freezing injunction against the assets of the defendants to the value of $133,518,230.36.
It accused Ubah and Capital Oil of failing to honour past settlement agreements entered by parties. AMCON said it also learnt that the defendants owe arrears of rent on the property where their facilities at Apapa are located, with threat of imminent eviction. It contended that should the defendants be evicted, it would become impossible for AMCON to recover the huge debts owed to it by Ubah and Capital Oil.
“In consideration of these facts and further legal advice obtained in this regard, AMCON will remain in possession of the defendants’ assets for which the court had originally granted AMCON possession in view of the pending appeal and applications in court.
“AMCON is also doing everything within its statutory powers to ensure that the huge and widespread indebtedness of the defendants to AMCON and Nigerian banks do not precipitate a systemic risk to the financial system,” the Corporation said.