Law News
AMCON’s fresh move to seize Babalakin’s companies fails

A fresh move by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria to take possession of assets of four companies belonging to Wale Babalakin, including Bi-Courtney’s Limited, failed on Wednesday as the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal refused to upturn the judgment of a Federal High Court in Lagos that had restored the assets.

AMCON had earlier seized Babalakin’s companies’ assets in September last year over alleged N50bn indebtedness.

But one week after, Justice Ibrahim Buba, in a bench ruling on September 29, 2014 restored the companies’ assets.

The judge, in that ruling, overruled the order obtained by AMCON from Justice Okon Abang of the same court on September 22, 2014 to take possession of the companies’ assets.

Displeased with the development, AMCON, through its lawyer and receiver/manager of the assets, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), had approached the appellate court with four grounds of appeal dated September 30, 2014 seeking to repossess the properties.

Apart from Bi-Courtney, the other companies belonging to Babalakin which assets were seized but restored are Chartered Investment Limited, Resort International Limited and Roygate Properties Limited.

By virtue of a concession agreement with the Federal Government, Bi-Courtney operates the Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminus 2 while Roygate manages the old Federal Secretariat in Ikoyi.

Ruling on AMCON’s appeal on Wednesday, the appellate court panel comprising Justices Sidi Bage, Samuel Oseji and Yargata Nimpar , upheld Buba’s ruling restoring the assets to Bi-Courtney and others.

The judges unanimously agreed with the lower court that the ex-parte order obtained by AMCON from Abang was given in the face of a subsisting order made by Justice A.M. Liman on November 4, 2011, restraining the Federal Government and its agencies from taking any steps to take over assets belonging to Bi-Courtney and others.

The upper court held that it agreed that the ex parte application taken before Abang by AMCON amounted to an abuse of court processes.

Agbakoba had in the appeal, argued that Buba erred in law and misdirected himself when he pronounced AMCON’s ex-parte application before Abang as an abuse of court processes since it was filed pursuant to a cause of action different from the one in the suit before Buba.

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