The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) can’t seize my property or freeze my accounts.
That was what Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim the Chairman of Global Fleet Oil & Gas and NICON Investment Limited told City People when we interviewed him about the alleged seizure of his property and freezing of his accounts by AMCON.
Two weeks ago, AMCON announced that it had taken possession of 12 assets belonging to Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim the Chief promoter of Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and NICON Investment Limited, in Lagos and Abuja over a N69.4bn debt owed to the corporation. AMCON said in a statement that the takeover followed an order of Justice R.M. Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division.
It said it took possession of the 12 properties through its Debt recovery agent, Pinheiro Legal Partners. According to the statement, the properties 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; the building of NICON Lekki Limited at No. 5 Customs Street, Lagos; the building of Abuja International Hotels Limited located at No. 3, Hospital Road, Lagos; and a property at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Abuja.
Others are the former Allied Bank Building on Mile 2, Oshodi Express Way, Apapa Road, 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 and NICON Luxury Hotel’s Building, Garki 1, FCT, Abuja.
AMCON said, “In addition to the takeover of the listed properties, the court also ordered the freezing of all accounts belonging to Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim and his companies including Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and NICON Investment Limited all of who are defendants in the Suit No. FHL/L/CL/776/2016 presided over by Justice Aikawa on Wednesday November 4, 2020.
“The court also granted AMCON possession of all shares belonging to the embattled Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim and his two companies that are domiciled in Nigerian Re-Insurance Company Plc, NICON Insurance Company Plc, Nigeria Stockbrokers Limited and NICON Trustees Limited”.
The statement said the matter between Ibrahim and AMCON had been intermitable since the loan was purchased by the government debt recovery agency during the first phase of Eligible Bank Assets purchases from Union Bank in the early days of AMCON. It said since the purchase of the EBA from Union Bank, AMCON had offered the obligor incredible exit opportunities to no avail. But Jimoh Ibrahim has fought back.
The Chief Promoter of Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and NICON Investment Limited, Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, is however, alleging that AMCON obtained by deceit the Interim court order of injunction it got a few days back, in respect of some properties, majority of which did not belong to him. Ibrahim in a statement said: “One question begging for answer in this case is how the corporation secured a second interim injunction when the first one obtained by the same institution has been discharged.” He said on October 2, Justice Oguntoyinbo J. of the Federal High Court, Lagos in a matter brought by AMCON against NICON Investment and others held: “In view of the facts and a consideration of the fuller facts contained in the affidavit before the court, this honourable court is minded to stay proceeding in this suit pending the outcome of the suit before the state High Court. “I believe that is just www.thisdaylive.com Tuesday 24 November, 2020 Vol 25. No 9360. Price: N250 TRUTH & REASON Continued on page 9 Jimoh Ibrahim: How AMCON Misled Court Jimoh the best thing to do in the circumstances. Accordingly, the lone issue formulated for determination by the court is hereby resolved against the plaintiff (AMCON) in favour of the defendants (NICONINVESTMENT), and relief 2 is granted as prayed. “In effect, the proceedings in this suit are hereby stayed pending final determination of suit no: LD/1074/2010 before Hon. Justice Oyefeso of Lagos High Court.” Owing to the foregoing, he wondered how AMCON secured another interim injunction when the same court had stayed the said matter. “Did AMCON’s lawyer inform the court of the Justice Oguntoyinbo’s order?” he questioned. According to him, in the High Court of Lagos before Justice Oyefeso, Union Bank, in its statement of defence filed in court, had admitted that he (Ibrahim) had a deposit of over £137 million. He said the bank had prayed the court as follows: “An order for the sale of the funds’ standing to the credit of the pound sterling fixed deposit account maintained by the 1st defendant to the counterclaimant; the proceed of which shall be applied in liquidation or part liquidation of the judgment sum as may be awarded against 1st and 2nd defendant counterclaim.” Jimoh explained: “The amount is also contained in the statement of account issued to Ibrahim and published in THISDAY Newspaper. Vol. 13 No. 5692.
The said pound sterling is three times higher than the amount borrowed by my companies. “When Justice Oguntoyinbo J ruled on October 2nd, 2019, that the proceedings in this suit are hereby stayed pending the final determination of case no: LD/1074/2010 before Hon. Justice Oyefeso of Lagos High Court, was the said court, not functus officio? “Union Bank also acknowledges another deposit of £125m from my second company, Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited, making a total deposit of over £250 million 10 years ago and running at a five per cent interest rate, so, who is owing who? My NICON investment admitted borrowing N26 billion to which £137 million was used to secure the bank’s said loan. “Can AMCON sustain the interim order in the face of the apparent facts because there is no returnable date in the court file? “Again, AMCON did not sign any undertaking for a Temporary injunction in the events facts were misrepresented to the court as required by the rules of Federal High court.” He noted that surprisingly, the lawyer on the record before Justice Oguntoyinbo was Yusufu Ali as Counsel to AMCON, asking: “So when was the change of counsel done with the Motion on notice with the interim injunction?” He said the new counsel to AMCON, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro, was the lawyer to Union Bank who opposed AMCON joining the case at the Lagos High Court! According to Ibrahim, Union Bank and AMCON cannot be pursuing the same matter simultaneously in 2 different courts. He said he did not own the majority of the property attached by the Interim order granted to AMCON, explaining that this shows the level of misrepresentation. explaining: “AMCON cannot buy a loan that is collateralised with cash.”