by SAHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORK
The Federal High Court, Lagos Division has frozen all the assets of businessman Jimoh Ibrahim, as well as his NICON Investment Limited and Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited.
Justice Saliu Saidu issued the interim injunction in response to an application by Mr. Yusuf Ali, counsel to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on June 14th, and it will stay in place until all the issues concerning their indebtedness to AMCON are determined.
The order restrains NICON Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited and Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim from dealing with any assets or funds of the company. It covers the assets of NICON Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited and Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim in Abuja, Lagos, Dubai and London.
The freezing order also affects all bank accounts held and/or maintained by NICON Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited and Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim in First Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, United Bank of Africa Plc, Access Bank Plc, City Bank Nigeria Limited and Sterling Bank Plc.
Others are Ecobank Nigeria Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc, Heritage Bank Limited, Keystone Bank Limited, Skye Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and Unity Bank Plc.
The court also ordered the freezing of all bank accounts to which Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim is a signatory either alone or with any other person in NICON Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited in any of the banks and financial institution on the list. AMCON was also granted the possessory order to take over Jimoh Ibrahimâ€™s Nigeria Re-Insurance Company Plc, NICON Insurance Company Plc, Nigeria Stockbrokers Limited (NSL) and NICON Trustees Limited.
The trio of NICON Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited and Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim owe AMCON over N50billion that has become the subject of protracted negotiations and court battles as a result of their inability to repay the staggering debt. With AMCONâ€™s debt recovery efforts in full swing, the Corporation took over the assets of Mr. Ibrahim in Abuja and Lagos.
Recall that 400 obligors of AMCON account for more than N4.5 trillion, which is approximately 80 percent of the total outstanding loan balance of the corporationâ€™s over 12,000 accounts with obligors that have become recalcitrant over time despite the efforts of the corporation.
To deal with the situation, AMCON recently increased the tempo of its recovery activities using firmer negotiation strategies and the special enforcement powers it possesses under the AMCON Act, to compel some of its debtors, especially business heavyweights and the politically exposed, to repay their debts.
Ibrahim, one of Nigeriaâ€™s wealthiest men, has investments in such areas as aviation, hotels, banking, insurance, real estate, and publishing, along with a reputation for ruthlessness and shortcuts.
AMCON began enforcement of the freeze order earlier today.