10th December, 2021
By Akin Kuponiyi
The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Friday dismissed two appeals filed by the Chairman of Global Fleet Group of companies, Jimoh Ibrahim, challenging the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON)’s seizure of his assets and freezing of his bank accounts over his alleged N69.4 billion debt.
The appellate court re-affirmed the November 4, 2020 order of Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court, in Lagos which authorised AMCON to take over Ibrahim’s assets.
In unanimous decision, the judges upheld the arguments of AMCON’s counsel, who prayed the court to dismiss Ibrahim’s application because it was incompetent.
Chief Niyi Akintola, SAN, represented Ibrahim while chief Bolaji Ayorinde SAN represented Nicon Investment Limited
AMCON had on November 4, 2020 through its counsel obtained an ex-parte order against Nicon Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and Jimoh Ibrahim freezing their accounts in various banks as well as attaching various properties of the companies.
The properties include NICON Investment Limited’s Building at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja; NICON Hotels Limited’s Building, Plot 557, Port-Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street, Abuja; NICON Lekki Limited’s Building, No. 5, Customs Street, Lagos; Abuja International Hotels Limited’s Building – No. 3, Hospital Road, Lagos; Residential Apartment at Road 2, House A14, Victoria Garden City, Lagos; NICON Hotels Building, Plot 3, Road 3, Victoria Garden City, Ajah, Lagos and NICON Luxury Hotel’s Building, Garki 1, Abuja.
Following the execution of the order, NICON Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and Jimoh Ibrahim through Akintola SAN filed an application at the Federal High Court seeking to discharge and set aside Justice Aikawa’s order.
Some other entities which AMCON alleged was 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.
Dissatisfied, both sets of applicants filed separate appeals at the Court of Appeal.
At the hearing of the appeals on September 30, 2021, AMCON 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 unanimous decision today, the Court of Appeal upheld the preliminary objection of AMCON and accordingly dismissed both appeals.