Off the hook: Femi Otedola settles N141billion debt with AMCON
by Akan Ido
The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has confirmed the settlement of debt owed by the Zenon and Forte Oil boss, Femi Otedola, to the asset management company.
The amount owed is said to be worth N140,999,620,395.80.
The AMCON boss, Mustafa Chike-Obi stated that the board of AMCON met last Thursday and approved the transfer of the businessman’s assets as well as an undisclosed sum of cash to it as full and final settlement for his liabilities.
Chike-Obi however declined to identify the assets which were transferred to the AMCON citing he confidentiality agreement binding the transaction.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had recently named Otedola as one of the 112 blacklisted individuals and companies owing huge amounts of money to the AMCON, it prevented his companies from taking further credit from banks, until full liquidation of the agreed indebtedness.
Chike-Obi said, “This is a positive development as the settlement by the biggest debtor to AMCON showed that there are no sacred cows because even a prominent businessman like Otedola has come out to settle.”
A source privy to Otedola’s financial dealings said the Zenon boss accumulated the debt after obtaining a syndicated loan from five banks which was adversely affected by the global economic downturn in 2008.
Reports say it took six months of long drawn negotiations between Otedola’s Zenon and the AMCON to reach an agreement on the modalities of settling the huge debt.
“Zenon Petroleum has paid AMCON the full and final settlement of its obligations/loans to some Nigerian banks, which was bought over by AMCON in May 2011,” the source said.
Also, a CBN official, who confirmed the settlement reached between AMCON and Otedola, described it as a positive development, stating: “Given that he (Otedola) had the highest exposure to the banking system and posed a systemic risk, we are pleased that he has settled his obligations.”