By Babajide Komolafe
THE Senate is set to increase the powers of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in order to facilitate its debt recovery mandate.
Chairman Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim, disclosed this at the opening of the Committee’s retreat at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja.
He said that the eighth Senate, under the leadership of Dr. Bukola Saraki, plans to empower AMCON to realize it’s mandate. Ibrahim stated that the upper chamber, as part of its oversight function, has decided that AMCON requires more support from the legislature if indeed Nigerians expect the Corporation to succeed in line with its sunset clause.
The fall out of the discussions at the end of the retreat, according to him, would lead to pronouncements from the 8th Senate, which would comprehensively empower AMCON to better carry out its functions.
Earlier in his address, Managing Director of AMCON, Ahmed Kuru, reminded the Senate Committee that having fully harvested the low hanging fruits in the first and second stages of AMCON operations, the success or failure of the Corporation at this stage would be heavily dependent on the legislature as well as the judiciary because most obligors of AMCON are employing different antics in law to tie up the Corporation in different courts.
He stated that since AMCON is a creation of the Federal Government through the Act of the National Assembly, the Senate must find a way to encourage the judiciary to apply wisdom on AMCON related cases by focusing on substance rather the current diversionary tendencies that are stalling recoveries and destabilizing the Nigerian economy.
Kuru said, “There is need for a change of strategy. This job is not an easy assignment by any definition because every obligor has a perception of AMCON and are willing to tie us up in court. That is why you see that every week we have fresh enemies. Therefore we need very strong legislative framework, which would for instance make it possible for all AMCON cases to terminate at the Appeal Court.”
According to him, if the 8th Senate allows the current legal processes on AMCON-related cases to drag-on as it is presently, he said he does not see AMCON meeting its obligation before its sunset in the next five years.