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Dr Wale Babalakin

Business mogul, Dr. Wale Babalakin has floored the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, (AMCON) in its bid to take over the vast Federal Secretariat Complex, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Justice Ibrahim Buba in a judgment delivered at the Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos on Wednesday, reiterated that the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies are bound to recognize an arbitral award rendered in December 2015, on the issue.

AMCON had sued Babalakin and his company, Resort International Ltd in November 2012 to seek an order for the repayment of a sum of N21billionn which it claimed comprised principal sum and accrued interest on various loan facilities allegedly granted to them.

This had stalled development on the property known as the Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi.

Apart from seeking to take over the property, AMCON had also sought an order of the court granting it the power of sale or disposal of Babalakin’s Alma Beach property and all the fuel hydrant tanks situated at the Domestic Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport also owned by Babalakin, allegedly given as security for the debt.

But in a counter-claim, Babalakin and his company contended that they are not indebted to AMCON but rather, a N4billion facility offered to the company is an equity contribution which was wrongly classified as a loan.

They, therefore, asked the court to set aside the purported loan for being inconsistent with the provisions of the AMCON Act (2010) as amended and the CBN guideline for the operations of AMCON and to declare same as illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

Babalakin also contended that the publication of his name and that of other Directors of the company by AMCON in “a list of delinquent debtors” in relation to loan facilities is libelous and an affront to the judicial powers of the Court already saddled with deciding the case.

Justice Buba in his judgment agreed with Babalakin and his company’s arguments and dismissed the claims of the Federal Government and AMCON.

The court also awarded N3billion in favour of Babalakin for the libelous publication and ordered the Federal Government and AMCON to publish a full and complete retraction and apology to Babalakin and his company in three national dailies.

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