Commercial Law

Firm asks court to unfreeze assets seized by AMCON 

By Michael Ojo

A firm, Credence Asset Management Ltd, on Friday asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to set aside a June 15 ex parte order which authorised the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to take over and freeze its properties.

The firm, two of its members Afolabi Owolabi and Clement (Clem) Baiye, made the application before Justice Muslim Hassan.

The trio are third, fourth and fifth defendants in a suit filed by AMCON, marked: FHC/L/CS/553/20.

The other defendants/respondents are: The Capital Consortium Ltd, Falobi Owolabi, Idris Animasahaun Alade Bashir and Verity Communications Ltd, Alidan Investments Ltd and Verity Associates Ltd.

Through their counsel Prof Taiwo Osipitan SAN, they filed a motion on notice praying the court for three reliefs, including “An order suspending the operation of the Ex-parte Interlocutory orders…pending the hearing and determination of the motion

“An order setting aside the Ex-parte Injunction against the 3rd 6th and 8th Defendants/Applicants on June 16.

At the resumption of proceedings yesterday, Osipitan told Justice Hassan to vacate the order because AMCON secured the order without following due process.

He contended that all the Corporate Affairs Commission documents which were Form Co1 to Co6 that the court relied on in granting the order were not certified, thereby rendering the order in contravention of Section 305 & 306 of Evidence Act, which was mandatory.

The Silk further contended that the AMCON Act which was relied on in granting the order could not override Chapter 36 of the Constitution which gives every Nigerian citizen fair hearing.

According to him, any enactment that contradicts the Constitution “must bow”.

He submitted further that besides being unconstitutional and oppressive of the applicants given the circumstances of the case, the ex-parte orders “were obtained as a result of misrepresentation non-disclosure/suppression of material.”

He prayed the court to hold that the order was obtained in error and discharge the order.

But AMCON’s counsel Christ Eze opposed him. Eze moved his counter affidavit and urged the court to dismiss the application to discharge the order because, according to him, the AMCON Act through which the order was obtained “is sui generis.”

Eze contended that if the application was granted, the assets and funds which the order was trying to protect until the end of trial would be removed, thereby rendering the whole exercise useless.

Justice Hassan reserved ruling till January 15, 2021

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