Nigeria Sets Up Team to Help Amcon Recover Loans, Pursue Charges

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari approved the establishment of an inter-agency task force that will help the Asset Management Corp. of Nigeria recover loans and other assets it took on six years ago to rescue banks in Africa’s biggest oil producer.

“Debtors who cut across the aviation, banking and oil and gas sectors failed to repay the loans,” the Abuja-based government said in an e-mailed statement on Monday. “Some of them had resulted to court actions, all in their bid to frustrate the loan recovery efforts of Amcon.”

The team -- which includes representatives and the heads from the ministries of justice and police, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, the Debt Management Office and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation -- will assist prosecutors pursuing potential criminal charges, the government said.

Companies that owe money to Amcon are struggling to repay their debts because of the slowdown in the economy, while the value of its property assets is dropping, Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Kurutold said in December. That is making it more difficult for Amcon to pay off its 5.6 trillion naira ($28 billion) of liabilities, including bonds held by the central bank, he said at the time.

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