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N69bn Debt: Appeal Court Dismisses Jimoh Ibrahim’s Suit to Recover Asset


The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, yesterday dismissed two appeals filed by the Chairman of Global Fleet Group, Jimoh Ibrahim, challenging the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria’s seizure of his assets and freezing of his bank accounts over his alleged N69.4 billion debt.

The appellate court upheld the November 4, 2020 order of Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos which authorised AMCON to take over Ibrahim’s assets.

In a unanimous decision, the panel of justices upheld the arguments of AMCON’s lead counsel, Dr. Kemi Pinheiro SAN, who prayed the court to dismiss Ibrahim’s application because it was incompetent.
Chief Niyi Akintola, SAN, is the counsel to the 1st defendant Jimoh Ibrahim, while Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, is for 2nd Defendant, Global Fleet Group.

AMCON had on November 4, 2020 through Pinheiro obtained an ex-parte order against NICON Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited and Jimoh Ibrahim, freezing their accounts in various banks, as well as attaching various properties of the companies.

The Properties include the building of NICON Investment Limited at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja; NICON Hotels Limited building at Plot 557, Port Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street, Abuja and the building of NICON Lekki Limited at No. 5, Customs Street, Lagos.

Other properties are the building of Abuja International Hotels Limited located at No. 3, Hospital Road, Lagos; another property at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Abuja; the former Allied Bank Building on Mile 2, Oshodi Expressway, Apapa Road, Lagos; Energy House located on No. 94, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; NICON Building at No. 40, Madeira Street, Maitama, Abuja; a Residential Apartment at Road 2, House A14, Victoria Garden City, Lagos; NICON Hotels Building at Plot 3, Road 3, Victoria Garden City, Lagos, as well as the NICON Luxury Hotel’s Building, Garki I, FCT, Abuja.

Following the execution of the order, Nicon Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited and Jimoh Ibrahim, through Akintola, filed a motion at the Federal High Court dated November 19, 2020, seeking to discharge/set aside Justice Aikawa’s order.

Some other entities which AMCON alleged were linked to Ibrahim, including Nicon Insurance Limited, Nigerian-Re-Insurance Limited, Abuja Hotel Limited and Nicon Hotels Limited also filed an application asking the judge to discharge the said order.

After hearing the two applications and the arguments canvassed by parties through their respective counsel, Justice Aikawa dismissed both applications by his ruling of February 16, 2021.
In addition to the takeover of the properties, the court also ordered the freezing of all accounts belonging to Ibrahim and his companies, including Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and NICON Investment Limited all of whom are defendants in the Suit.

Dissatisfied, both applicants filed separate appeals, which were all thrown out yesterday.
AMCON was represented in the appeals by Pinheiro, while the first set of Appellants was represented by Akintola and the second set by Ayorinde.
At the hearing of the appeals on September 30, 2021, Pinheiro raised a preliminary objection to the appeal, contending that the appeal was incompetent because the Appellants failed to seek leave prior to the filing of the appeal.

In a unanimous decision yesterday, the Court of Appeal upheld the preliminary objection of AMCON and accordingly dismissed both appeals.
The implication of this is that AMCON remains in possession of the properties attached by the order of Justice Aikawa on November 4, 2021.

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