JUSTICE A.T. Mohammed of The Federal High Court Abeokuta Division, Ogun State, has granted an injunction against Gateway Portland Cement Limited and Olumuyiwa Odegbami on the application of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON.
Consequent upon the court order, Charles Adeogun-Phillips, AMCON’s receiver, has formally and successfully taken possession of Gateway Portland Cement Limited factories and facilities located in Abeokuta and Mowe areas of Ogun State over a debt profile of nearly N3 billion. The debt has been a subject of litigation for some time now. Jude Nwauzor, AMCON spokesperson, also confirmed the presence of the receiver at the cement factory at the time of filing the report.
The court in the ruling restrained the Gateway Portland Cement Limited and the promoters whether by themselves, their agents, privies, or whosoever howsoever from moving, into the firm, withdrawing money from or with any bank or financial institutions that hitherto does business with the cement company excluding in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the suit to be filed by the applicants for recovery of its outstanding debts.
The order also restrains Gateway Portland Cement Limited and the promoters by themselves, their agents, servants and, or their privies from interfering with or otherwise obstructing or frustrating the receiver appointed by AMCON in performing his duties. Gateway Portland Cement Limited and the promoters were therefore directed to deliver to the receiver appointed by AMCON all the charged assets of the company in their possession forthwith.
To ensure that the court order is carried out as directed, Justice Mohammed directed the Inspector General of Police, the assistant inspectors general of police, the commissioners of police in charge of any location where the pledged assets of Gateway Portland Cement Limited might be found to assist the bailiff and the AMCON receiver, Adeogun-Phillips in the enforcement of the order.
AMCON under the current management team lead by Ahmed Kuru, managing director/chief executive officer, has continually maintained that there would be no rest forrecalcitrant debtors of the corporation like in the case of the promoters of Gateway Portland Cement Limited, which he said remains the only way AMCON mandate could be realised within the time-frame of the assignment and in the interest of the country’s economy.
Only recently Kuru told the nation that despite the efforts of the corporation to resolve the huge debts in its portfolio, it identified 350 obligors’ accounts that represent about 80 per cent of AMCON’s current exposure of N2.5 trillion as at December 31, 2016. Kuru said it was based on this that AMCON repositioned its debt recovery approach to strengthen legal and credit restructuring units to collaborate on the aforementioned 350 accounts, which he termed “defaulters”; enhance the restructuring and turnaround team; and engage in asset tracing to enhance recoveries.