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Arik Air shareholders flaw AMCON’s N240bn debt claim

Arik Air shareholders flaw AMCON’s N240bn debt claim
Arik Air shareholders flaw AMCON’s N240bn debt claim (Photo: Nairametrics)

Shareholders of Arik Air, one of Nigeria’s commercial airlines, have flawed the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria’s (AMCON’s) claim on its indebtedness to lessors and financial institutions totalling N240 billion before the take of the airline on February 9, 2017.

The shareholders, in document dated September 20, 2023, and titled ‘Arik Air Receivership – How Alhaji Ahmed Kuru, MD-AMCON Misinformed and Misled the Government,’ insisted that the former managers of the airline were servicing the airline’s debts as at when due before the “forceful” intervention of the AMCON and subsequent takeover about six years ago.

The airline’s investors pointed out that as of February 9, 2017, when AMCON took over the airline, Arik Air was not in default in any of its financial lease and operating loan obligations to any bank, including the European Credit Agency (ECA)/HSBC facility.

According to the shareholders, following the 2010 Banking Reforms in which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), directed the conversion of all local bank guarantees of foreign loans from off-balance sheet to on-balance sheet, the AMCON took over the European Credit Agency (ECA)/HSBC finance facility supported by the local guarantee of Union Bank Plc.

They further alleged that the Corporation then renegotiated the facility with Union Bank from single-digit to double-digit interest rate without the involvement of Arik Air management even when the airline had been servicing the facility without default for about three years.

The shareholders clarified: “The MD of AMCON should cross-check his facts as his agency never filed the sum of N240 billion, in its claim of the airline’s indebtedness in any court.

“This is patently false, contradictory, and misleading. We ask him to consult his lawyers to spare the public the needless overload of his misinformation.

“It is an incontrovertible fact that Arik had no issues with aircraft lessors and financiers, and neither was any aircraft impounded/seized anywhere in the world until mid – 2019 well into the receivership by AMCON when the lessors were not paid as directed by the CBN letter of 14 March 2017 to all banks”, the investors added.

Commenting on the NG Eagle, the shareholders lamented that AMCON funded the startup airline from Arik sales proceeds and further alleged that the buyer of the NG Eagle was well known to the former AMCON’s CE0, Ahmad Kuru and was a Bureau De Change (BDC) operator selling foreign exchange (FX) to the airline then.

Techrectory with Agency Report.

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Written by Percy Onyeka

A seasoned Tech/Business Analyst, Digital Media Consultant , Publisher and Entrepreneur with more than a decade experience. Online Editor in Chief-New National Star newspaper and a host of clients...

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