The Senate on Wednesday passed the amended the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) bill.
The new bill empowers AMCON to, amongst others, take possession, manage or sell all properties traced to debtors, whether or not such assets or property is used as security/collateral for obtaining the loan in particular.
It empowers the corporation to access the Special Tribunal established by the BOFIA, 2020 for dealing with financial related matters.
Chairman of the Committee on Banking Insurance and other Financial Institution, Senator Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna Central), said the Committee engaged with stakeholders such as AMCON, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).
According to the lawmaker, the stakeholders in their submissions pushed for AMCON to be empowered to take possession, manage, foreclose or sell, transfer, assign or otherwise of property used as security for eligible bank assets among others, adding that, “this will provide for a quicker, easier and legitimate process of assets disposal.”
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central), during the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill sought to know the rationale behind the recommendation of the Committee in clause two, which empowers AMCON to take possession of assets outside of those used as collateral in obtaining a loan request.
He said, “the essence of collateral, is that in the even of default, you lose that asset. What I am reading here is that in addition to seizing that asset, they (AMCON) want to go beyond that to every other asset or property that is traceable to the debtor. I think I need some clarifications to that.”
Another lawmaker, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (PDP, Akwa-Ibom North East) argued that, “you cannot go outside the asset presented for the facility.”
Senator Adamu Aliero, however, explained that “Mr. Chairman, if you can recall, during debate on this bill, Senators made it abundantly clear that these debtors are taking government money, and they are using it freely and going free, and we need stringent measures to be enforced to recover the money.”
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, at this point called for voting on the contentious clause, which eventually was adopted by lawmakers in the majority, following Lawan’s ruling.