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N69.4bn debt: A’Court affirms AMCON’s takeover of Jimoh Ibrahim’s assets

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, has affirmed the takeover of assets belonging to the Chairman of Global Fleet Group, Jimoh Ibrahim, by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) over alleged N69.4 billion debt. In a unanimous decision on Friday, the Appellate Court Justices dismissed two appeals lodged by Ibrahim to challenge the order of a Federal High Court in Lagos permitting AMCON to seize his assets and froze their bank accounts In dismissing the appeal, the Appellate Court upheld the November 4, 2020 order of Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos which authorised AMCON to take over Ibrahim’s assets.

The Justices unanimously upheld the arguments of AMCON’s lawyer, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), who prayed the court to dismiss Ibrahim’s application because it was incompetent. AMCON had on November 4, 2020 through Pinheiro obtained an ex-parte order against Nicon Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and Jimoh Ibrahim freezing their accounts in various banks as well as attaching various properties of the companies. NICON Investment Limited’s Building at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja; NICON Hotels Limited’s Building, Plot 557, Port-Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street, Abuja; NICON Lekki Limited’s Building, No. 5, Customs Street, Lagos; Abuja International Hotels Limited’s Building – No. 3, Hospital Road, Lagos; Residential Apartment at Road 2, House A14, Victoria Garden City, Lagos; NICON Hotels Building, Plot 3, Road 3, Victoria Garden City, Ajah, Lagos and NICON Luxury Hotel’s Building, Garki 1, Abuja, were the property affected by order of the lower court. Following the execution of the order, NICON Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and Jimoh Ibrahim filed a motion dated November 19, 2020 at the Federal High Court in Lagos seeking to discharge/set aside Justice Aikawa’s order.

Some other entities which AMCON alleged was linked to Ibrahim, including NICON Insurance Limited, Nigerian- Re-Insurance Limited, Abuja Hotel Limited and Nicon Hotels Limited also filed motion asking the judge to discharge the said order. After hearing arguments canvassed by parties through their lawyers, Justice Aikawa dismissed both motions on February 16, 2021. Dissatisfied, both sets of applicants filed separate appeals at the Court of Appeal. At the hearing of the appeals on September 30, 2021, Pinheiro raised a preliminary objection to the appeal contending that the appeal was incompetent because the appellants failed to seek leave prior to the filing of the appeal. In a unanimous decision on Friday, the Court of Appeal upheld the preliminary objection of AMCON and accordingly dismissed both appeals.

 

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