After an exhaustive nearly two hours of court ruling, a Federal High Court Lagos Division has finally declined to vacate an interim order through which the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) seized the properties of barrister and businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim over an alleged N69.4billion debt.
Recall that following the order of Honourable Justice R.M. Aikawa also of the Federal High Court, Lagos, AMCON effectively took possession of twelve prime assets belonging to Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim who is also the Chief promoter of Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and NICON Investment Limited in Lagos and Abuja over the staggering indebtedness.
The embattled businessman who himself is a lawyer, and who decided to attend the court session fully robed as a lawyer on Tuesday February 16, 2021 sat there helpless, listening to superior argument, which made his plea fall flat on the ground. He, as well as NICON Investment Limited and Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited, which he owns had asked the court to set aside the order for “non-disclosure and misrepresentation of material facts.”
Ibrahim and co. also asked the court to order AMCON to pay N50 billion indemnity for alleged failure to conduct due diligence before obtaining the said order and for misrepresentation and concealment of fact, which the court also brushed aside.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa, in the ruling, upheld the flawless arguments of AMCON’s lawyer, Mr Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) that AMCON made “full and substantial disclosure of all material facts” at the time of obtaining the orders on November 4, 2020. The presiding Judge, therefore, ruled that the order subsists.
Following the November 4 order, AMCON had announced on November 18 through a statement signed by its head of Corporate Communications Department, Mr Jude Nwauzor that AMCON had effectively took possession of over 12 properties belonging to the businessman and his firms. The properties included the NICON Investment Limited building on Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja; NICON Hotels Limited building located at Plot 557, Port-Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street, Abuja and the building of NICON Lekki Limited also at No. 5, Customs Street, Lagos.
The statement added then that 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 whom are defendants in the Suit No. FHL/L/CL/776/2016.
The matter between Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim and the Corporation has been interminable since the loan was purchased by the government debt recovery agency during the first phase of Eligible Bank Assets (EBA) purchases from Union Bank in the early days of AMCON.