The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has taken over the assets of Daily Times Nigeria Plc, a media establishment.
According to a statement signed by Jude Nwauzor, AMCON spokesman, Gbenga Fakoya took over the assets on behalf of AMCON on Monday.
The federal government owned 96.05 percent shares of Daily Times before it was sold to Folio Communications Limited in 2004 during the Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration.
The statement said Folio Communications Limited, owned by Fidelis Anosike and Noel Anosike tendered a bid confirmed by the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE). The BPE sold to Folio at the cost of N1.25 billion.
“However, since the 2004 privatisation exercise, Folio Communications has been embattled with court cases following a loan of N750 million from Hallmark Bank Plc, which it secured to enable it pay the federal government for the newspaper company,” the statement read.
“According to reports, Folio also got DSV Limited promoted by Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah to invest the sum of N500 million in the purchase of the shares with the understanding that upon concluding the transaction, DSV would be entitled to 40 per cent of the shareholding of the media empire.
“A year after the sale, 2005 to be precise, Hallmark Bank Plc (now defunct), Folio Communications Limited, promoted by the Anosike brothers/Daily Times of Nigeria Plc and DSV Limited, promoted by Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah commenced several legal battles over the real ownership of the newspaper.”
Nwauzor said AMCON purchased the loan from Afribank Plc in 2010.
“Consequently, Folio Communications Limited also dragged AMCON to court on several claims while Senator Obiorah commenced an action against the Corporation in the name of Daily Times Plc at the Federal High Court vide suit no: FHC/L/CS/ 1254/15 – the Daily Times Nigeria Plc vs AMCON. Both suits were however struck out by the respective courts.
“But having exhausted all avenues of peaceful resolution over the huge outstanding debt owed AMCON by the Daily Times Plc, the Federal High Court on February 1, 2018, presided over by Honourable Justice I. N Buba ordered AMCON to take over the Daily Times Plc.
“The court by the said order retrained the directors, shareholders, agents, servants, privies and /or employees howsoever described from preventing AMCON from taking possession of the Daily Times Plc. AMCON has complied by effectively taking over the Daily Times on February 13, 2018. More so, AMCON is interested in the recovery of the debt and not the ownership of the media empire.”
AMCON has taken over a number of companies including Arik Air and Aero Contractors airline.