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N69.4m debt: Jimoh Ibrahim loses bid to vacate order on seized assets

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Ibrahim

Businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim, on Tuesday, lost a bid to vacate an interim order through which the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) seized his properties over an alleged N69.4billion debt.

Coming before a Federal High Court in Lagos, Ibrahim, NICON Investment Ltd and Global Fleet Oil and Gas Ltd, had contended that the forfeiture order was granted in error.

They alleged that AMCON concealed material facts in its ex-parte application leading to the seizure order, thus prayed the court to set aside the order for non-disclosure and misrepresentation of material facts.

They also sought a N50billion indemnity against AMCON, saying that the corporation failed to conduct due diligence before obtaining the order to forfeiture.

However, counsel to AMCON, Kemi Pinheiro, (SAN), opposed him and prayed the court to dismiss the Motion on Notice, contending that AMCON’s counter-affidavit revealed “copious reasons” why the order should not be set aside.

Pinheiro argued that AMCON’s exhibits established that the properties attached belong to Ibrahim, thus cannot claim innocence of them. Pinheiro stated further that AMCON made full and substantial disclosure of all material facts in relation to the subject matter of this suit, at the time of obtaining the orders on November 4, 2020.

Ibrahim who is a lawyer, was in court Tuesday with his complete professional attire.

In a two-hour ruling, Justice Rilwan Aikawa upheld Pinheiro’s arguments, saying, “I have carefully studied the respective applications and arguments for or against parties.

“I agree totally with the counsel for the claimant Kemi Pinheiro SAN that this suit is sui generis as Section 49(1)(2) of the AMCON Act says that the order made on the 4th of November, 2020 can be made ex-parte on mere suspicion that the rest is about to be dissipated.”

He also agreed with the claimant that the order could not be discharged on the ground that it was made in contravention of the order of Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, a judge of the Federal High Court, on October 2, 2019, which has no bearing with this case.

“In my opinion, we have a unique situation here. The application that led to the ex-parte order made on the 4th of November 2020 was brought pursuant to the provisions of the AMCON Act which defines this as a Federal High Court.

“I do not think that based on the above reasons, that this application has made a case out for the order of this court to be vacated. The appropriate order to be made in these circumstances is to dismiss the same and, accordingly, this application is hereby dismissed.”

It would be recalled that Justice Aikawa made the interim order on November 4, and on November 18, announcing that AMCON had taken over 12 properties belonging to Ibrahim.

The NICON Investment Ltd building Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja; NICON Hotels Ltd building at Plot 557, Port-Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street, Abuja and the NICON Lekki Ltd building also at No. 5, Customs Street, Lagos, were part of the properties seized by AMCON.

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