Cecilia Ibru tackles FG, AMCON on seized assets, hearing on 22 April

Cecilia Ibru tackles FG, AMCON on seized assets, hearing on 22 April

Thursday, March 19, 2015 8:19 pm

AMCON: Cecilia Ibru seeks court order on seized assets

AMCON: Cecilia Ibru seeks court order on seized assets

A federal high court siting in Abuja has fixed further hearing of the suit instituted by former managing director of defunct Oceanic International Bank Plc, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru for 22nd April. The rescheduling of proceedings in the suit was due to the recent industrial action by judiciary workers.

Mrs. Ibru, on behalf of herself and the Ibru group had dragged federal government and AMCON before the court over an alleged breach by federal government in the implementation of the terms of agreement she entered as part of her plea bargain in 2010.

In the suit, Mrs. Ibru asked the court to make a declaration that the plea bargain and settlement agreement that she entered with the federal government in 2010 is a valid and enforceable agreement between the parties and more particularly valid against the federal government of Nigeria or any of its organs, including but not limited to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON and to declare that the striping of the assets and the subsequent sale of Oceanic Bank International Plc to EcoBank Plc was not part of the plea bargain and settlement agreement which she signed with the federal government and to declare the sale of Oceanic bank a sham, misconceived, mischievous and of no legal consequences.

Furthermore, Mrs. Ibru urged the court to also declare that Aero Contractors Nigeria Limited was also not on the list of assets she forfeited to the federal government as part of her plea bargain and asked the court to declare that any attempt by AMCON to take over the airline or attach its assets as ultra vires and of no legal consequences.

At the root of the suit filed by the former chief executive officer of the defunct bank is a recent exparte order obtained from a federal high court in Lagos last November by AMCON against a private company, Sidochem Industries Limited, and the company’s managing director, Mr. Edgar Sido and two others over a loan of N433.5 million owed the defunct bank which AMCON acquired.

AMCON had on 12th November, 2013 obtained an ex-parte order from a Lagos court purportedly empowering it to take over the said properties but Mrs. Ibru, while challenging the order, argued that AMCON mischievously obtained the ex-parte order without disclosing material facts contained in the plea bargain agreement she entered with the federal government. She contended that AMCON did not disclose material facts to the court as regards her consent to the plea bargain and settlement agreement where she, representing herself, the Ibru group and others forfeited properties listed under the forfeited assets part of the plea bargain.

The corporation had obtained an order of the court empowering it to take immediate possession of the assets and properties of the company covered in the deed of all assets debenture created by the company in favour of Oceanic Bank as well as the freezing of all accounts operated by the company in nineteen commercial banks in Nigeria. The trial judge, Justice Idris, granted the orders as requested by AMCON.

However, Sidochem Industries Limited and its owners are crying foul over the order secured by AMCON against it. They claim that the debts they owe the defunct bank was amongst the matters resolved in the plea bargain judgment in Dr. Cecilia Ibru’s case.

In support of the company’s claim are two deeds of ratification donated by both Sidochem Industries and Mr. Edgar Sido whereby they wholly transferred and released all of its rights, interests and estate in the assets forfeited to AMCON by Ibru as part of her plea bargain.

Mrs. Ibru told the Abuja court that AMCON which was well represented by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in her plea bargain agreement and which is the sole beneficiary of all the properties she forfeited had gone ahead to seal off an expanse of rental property completely unrelated to Sidochem’s business on the strength of the ex parte order it obtained from the Lagos court.

However, in an apparent confirmation of the claims of Mrs. Ibru that Aero Contractor airline was not part of the properties she forfeited to the federal government as part of her plea bargain, the Acting Managing Director of AMCON, Mrs. Foluke Dosunmu, told a senate committee that neither any aircraft nor cash was contained in the list of assets handed to the corporation as part of the plea bargain gazetted on October 20, 2010.

She further added that AMCON was not involved in the plea bargain involving Ibru, noting that the plea bargain was carried out between only Ibru and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke and was only handed over to AMCON after it had been gazetted.

Mrs. Dosunmu was making a submission to the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, in response to a petition by some stakeholders that AMCON had failed to remit proceeds of Mrs. Ibru’s forfeited properties to shareholders of both Oceanic and Ecobank last Monday,

“The list of assets gazetted is different from what was reported in the newspapers. It did not include an aircraft and we never got any cash. We have evidence of sales recovered from Ibru. We provided over N300 billion to shore up depositors’ funds. The recovery of shareholders’ funds is not the responsibility of AMCON. All that was done was to ensure the safety of shareholders’ funds. EFCC did not recover any property from Ibru. There is no issue of remittance of proceeds from Oceanic to Ecobank because AMCON had injected N570 billion into Oceanic bank”, Dosunmu submitted.

Furthermore, Dosunmu stated the N570 billion was injected into the defunct Oceanic Bank to save it from collapse and that that the sum included N151 billion non-performing loans paid to Oceanic Bank as depositors’ funds.

“The assets which were gazetted were forfeited to AMCON. It was not meant to be managed by AMCON but forfeited to it. They are two different things. AMCON has the ownership of the money. The first set of funds paid to Oceanic Bank was non-performing loan. The second was depositors’ fund illicitly acquired by the institution. One point we made was that no depositor would lose his fund. Ibru entered into plea bargain with the AGF and not with EFCC. The court order forfeiting Ibru’s assets to AMCON was given on October 10, 2010″, the Acting managing director told the committee.

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