Over 5,000 debtors in the books of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) have gone into hiding making it difficult for the corporation to trace them, but it has vowed to release the list of all the debtors in July.
AMCON was established by the Federal Government in 2010 to buy bad debts from banks and ensure stability in the financial sector.
But the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, AMCON, Mr. Ahmed Kuru, at a press briefing in Lagos on Friday, stated that the corporation bought 14,000 non-performing loans, adding, “We borrowed money to buy those loans; so, we also are struggling to pay back the loans.”
He also said, “There are quite a lot of obligors that cannot pay because they don’t have the ability to pay. Quite a lot of them have gone into hiding. More than 4,000 to 5,000 (of the debtors) and that was why, if you recall, not long ago, we had to do some substituted service because some of them have decided to change their addresses.
“And there was even an instance where someone’s house, was number 19, he legally removed it to plot 2015. If we looked for him, we will not find him, because he has changed his address.”
“One basic information that is required is the address because when you are going to recover money, the first thing is: what is the person’s address? We bought 14,000 loans, and when you talk about 14,000 businesses and individuals, it is not a small number.
“In AMCON, we are less than 400 workers. So, it is not possible for 400 people to pursue 14,000 businesses; so we have given out more 7,000 of those accounts to the asset management partners.”
“The import of our advert is that hiding will not help; we just want to talk to you. We are not the EFCC. To borrow money is not criminal; we must take money from banks. However, what you do after is what will make it criminal. Most loans are taken from depositors’ money.”
“It is simple logic, if you do not pay, banks need to collect their money for them to pay depositors. So, we must meet our obligations.”
Kuru said the corporation will by next month be releasing the names of debtors to the press, and the obligations standing against their names.
“But we decided last week that we will give them a last chance, and take this as a final notice. You have N10 billion obligation, and you want to be a senator. Fine, you may not have N10 billion to pay me. But let us sit down and have understanding. I will pay you in two years, or I will pay you in five years. There is no body to give N2 billion or N30 billion today. But sit down with us and explain how you want to pay. They are just looking the other way and want to take responsibility as leaders. I do not think it is fair”.