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Arik Air shareholders debunks AMCON claim of N240bn



Shareholders of Arik Air have debunked the claim by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) that it was indebted to lessors and financial institutions to the tune of N240 billion before the take of the airline on February 9, 2017.

A document obtained by ThePressNG, dated September 20, 2023, with the head: ‘Arik Air Receivership – How Alhaji Ahmed Kuru, MD-AMCON Misinformed and Misled the Government,’ and sighed by its shareholders, insisted that the former managers of the airline were servicing the airline’s debts as at when due before the “forceful” intervention of the career over six years ago.

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

The shareholders claimed that with the 2010 Banking Reforms, 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.

It stated that with this directive, AMCON took over the European Credit Agency (ECA)/HSBC finance facility supported by the local guarantee of Union Bank Plc.

The shareholders alleged AMCON then renegotiated the facility with Union Bank from single-digit to double-digit interest rate without the involvement of Arik Air management.

They maintained that this was done without recourse to the fact that Arik Air had been servicing the facility without default for about three years.

The shareholders said:

On the controversial NG Eagle, Arik shareholders regretted that AMCON under the leadership of Alhaji Ahmed as its Managing Director, funded the startup airline from Arik sales proceeds.

The shareholders alleged that the buyer of the NG Eagle, Alhaji Abdul Ahmad, was an acquaintance of Kuru and a bureau de change operator selling forex to Arik.

They declared that the sale transaction of NG Eagle was another breach of public procurement and assets disposal protocols, maintaining that the sale transaction of NG Eagle was inappropriately done on February 20, 2023, after a date had been reserved for judgment in the matter of Arik Shareholders Vs Kamilu Omokide, AMCON, NG Eagle & Ors at the Federal High Court Lagos.

The shareholders further accused Kuru of misleading the Acting CBN Governor to grant a waiver for the lease and use of the Arik aircraft by the same NG Eagle without telling him of a subsisting court order.

The document added: