The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has directed that new approaches be adopted in the recovery of N5.4 trillion debts owed the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
Osinbajo’s spokeman, Mr Laolu Akande, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja said the directive was part of the Federal Government’s renewed effort to ensure the effective recovery of over five trillion naira being outstanding debts owed AMCON.
In 2018, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of AMCON, Mr. Ahmed Kuru informed newsmen that only 350 Nigerians were responsible for N4.3 trillion of the N5.4 trillion debt.
Kuru then said that AMCON was going to proceed with seizing assets of individuals and companies that were indebted and not properly servicing their debts.
In a bid to proffer better ways of recouping the debts, Osinbajo on Monday met with board members and management of AMCON and selected heads of government agencies, at the Presidential Villa following which a new committee was set up to carry out the assignment.
The agencies included Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the permanent secretaries of the Ministries of Justice and Transportation.
Osinbajo said a special task force/committee comprising the Heads of AMCON, EFCC, NFIU, ICPC and the Ministry of Justice, would be working to develop and implement new strategies that would ensure speedy recovery of the debts.
The vice-president said all the relevant agencies had to re-strategise to achieve the desired results.
“The key is collaboration.
“We need a small team comprising these agencies to look at the next steps that we need to take, especially the criminal aspect, forfeiture, and all of that,” he said.
He said that the task force should look at the top 20 AMCON defaulters closely and develop a plan of action that would bring results.
The vice-president in May met with AMCON management to discuss how to resolve the issue.
The AMCON Chairman, Mr Muiz Banire, said that almost 67 per cent of the outstanding debt was owed by 20 individuals/entities.
Banire noted that the agency had been trying its best to recover the debts through the civil judicial process but had encountered several challenges.
Present at the meeting was the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, the Chairman, ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye; the Director/Chief Executive Officer of, NFIU, Mr Modibbo Tukur, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mr Sabiu Zakari, and other senior government officials.