By Dipo Olowookere
Managing Director of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr Ahmed Kuru, has revealed that about 5,000 individuals and businesses owing banks in the country have gone underground.
Mr Kuru made this disclosure during a press conference in Lagos on Friday.
However, he emphasised that the agency, established by government to recover bad loans in the banking system, would go after these debtors.
According to him, next month, AMCON will release list of all the debtors, saying the services of lawyers and asset tracers have already been contracted to make the recovery easy.
“To borrow money is not 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,” he told journalists at the news briefing yesterday.
Speaking further, he said, “Some of them (bank debtors) 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.”
Mr Kuru said last year, the corporation recovered a total of N740 billion from debtors with N342 billion generated as revenue.
“Up to the financial year of 2017, we have recovered a total of N740 billion. Of course, we have a lot of substantial assets that we are holding in terms of real estate and some other forms of assets.
“But most fundamentally is that quite a lot of traction has been achieved over the period,” the AMCON chief disclosed.
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