Home » AMCON takes over insurance assets belonging to Nigerian tycoon Jimoh Ibrahim

AMCON takes over insurance assets belonging to Nigerian tycoon Jimoh Ibrahim

by Ishioma Emi

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has announced the takeover of businessman Jimoh Ibrahim’s interests in NICON Insurance Limited and the Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation (Nigeria Re) over a N69.4-billion ($168.65 million) debt allegation.

Ibrahim is the group managing director of NICON Insurance and Nigeria Re. He is also the controlling shareholder of the two insurance companies.

In November 2020, a federal high court in Lagos granted an interim order, allowing AMCON to take possession of 12 prime assets belonging to Ibrahim and to freeze all the accounts belonging to him and his companies over the aforementioned debt.

The order was given in connection with a lawsuit filed by AMCON in 2016 (File No. FHL/L/CL/776/2016).

However, the tycoon, in turn, sued to recover the assets on grounds of the “non-disclosure and misrepresentation of material facts,” Nairametrics reported.

He further demanded N50 billion ($121.5 million) in compensation from AMCON, which the high court declined, upholding the subsisting ruling.

The Abuja High Court overruled an earlier judgement in February, whereby the judge accused AMCON of concealing facts related to the case to obtain an interim order, The Cable reported.

Following the takeover, AMCON has installed an interim board of directors at the company, approved by the National Insurance Commission. 

The state agency stated that it is partnering with the Bureau for Public Enterprises to bring “much-needed stability” into the operations of the organizations.

“The reconstitution of the board and management team of two insurance institutions in Nigeria is to ensure that the firms continue in their quest for transparent and accountable management of insurance in the country, and continue to deliver value to its stakeholders,” AMCON stated.

NICON Insurance, one of Africa’s leading insurers, and Nigeria Re were originally owned by the Nigerian government. 

However, when the government launched its privatization policy under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria Re and NICON Insurance were privatized in 2002 and 2005, respectively. Investors took over a 70-percent stake in the companies, while the government retained a 30-percent share.

The move was implemented to enhance Nigeria’s insurance sector via public-private partnership.

At the time of the privatization, Ibrahim was appointed the company’s managing director and CEO. He inherited NICON’s 48 branches scattered across Nigeria’s 36 states and 1,200 personnel, half of whom were insurance and accounting professionals.

Ibrahim also inherited more than 500 buildings, landed properties, at choice locations nationwide, with a force sale value pegged at N20 billion ($48.6 million).

Not long after, rumors began to circulate that some of the properties were being used as security for loans and other guarantees without the government’s consent.

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