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Senators Concerned As Buhari Overlooks Law In AMCON Appointments

Some members of the National Assembly have expressed concern that in announcing the appointment of a new executive management team for the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), President Muhammadu Buhari may have overlooked the statutory requirement of seeking the Senate’s confirmation for his nominees before they can become substantive appointees.

The president was also expected to have consulted with the Federal Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which by virtue of their ownership of 50 per cent each in AMCON, are statutorily required to nominate the executive management team and forward their recommendations to the president.

The president on Tuesday approved the dissolution of AMCON’s executive management team and simultaneously approved the reconstitution of a new management team for the corporation.
With the announcement, Mr. Mustapha Chike-Obi, the pioneer managing director of AMCON, was immediately replaced by Ahmed Lawan Kuru. In addition, three new executive directors were also appointed.

But the AMCON Act 2010 clearly stipulates that such appointments by the president shall be subject to the confirmation of the Senate, which the statement from the president’s media aide, Femi Adesina, was silent on.

In contrast, when the president appointed the service chiefs in June, he made it clear that their appointment was subject to their confirmation by the Senate.

Specifically, Section 10 (1) of the AMCON Act, 2010, states: “The board shall consist of the following members to be appointed by the president subject to the confirmation of the Senate:

“(a) A part-time Chairman who shall be a nominee of the Federal Ministry of Finance in consultation with the Minister.

“(b) A Managing Director who shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the corporation nominated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“(c) Three Executive Directors, who shall be nominated by the CBN in consultation with the Minister; and

“(d) Five other non-Executive Directors, two to be nominated by the Federal Ministry of Finance, two by the CBN and one by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).”

According to a National Assembly source, the dilemma in the appointments by the president, who directed that their appointments came into effect on Tuesday, is that with the lawmakers on recess till September 29, this will mean that the confirmation will be kept in abeyance.

“The new management team of AMCON requires Senate confirmation by law. The president just made the announcement without simultaneously seeking for their confirmation by the Senate.
“As it stands, except the Senate decides to hold an emergency session for the purpose of their confirmation, they would have to wait until September 29,” he explained.

When contacted, a senior presidency official admitted that it was an oversight, adding that the clarification on the appointment of the new management team for AMCON was subject to confirmation by the Senate would be made public today.

He added that a letter will also be forwarded by the president to the Senate seeking for the confirmation of his nominees, in line with the AMCON Act.
Also an official of AMCON informed THISDAY that in the absence of a substantive executive management team and a board, which was dissolved by the president last month alongside other boards of federal parastatals, the activities of the corporation might be hampered.

The official explained that the only “A” signatories to AMCON’s bank accounts were from the ousted executive management team and it would require the board to form a quorum, comprising three non-executive directors and two executive directors, and pass a resolution to alter the “A” and “B” signatories of the corporation.

“This means that our activities may be hampered for a while and possibly the payment of salaries affected until these bureaucratic hurdles are scaled.
“The problem is the law setting up AMCON clearly spells out all these issues,” he said.

AMCON was created by an Act of the National Assembly to be a key stabilising and revitalising tool to revive the financial system by efficiently resolving the non-performing loan assets of the banks in the Nigerian economy.

The new executive directors of the corporation are Kola Ayeye, Eberechukwu Uneze and Aminu Ismail. They replaced Mofoluke Benedicta Dosumu, Hewitt Adegboyega Benson and Abbas Mohammed Jega, who were appointed alongside Chike-Obi in 2010.
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