President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment) Act, 2019.
Also signed into law by the President were the Defence Intelligence Agency Civilian Pensions Board (Establishment) Act, 2019 and the National Biosafety Management Agency (Amendment) Act, 2019.
The bills were passed by the 8th National Assembly and transmitted to him for assent.
According to a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by Senator Ita Enang, Presidential Liaison (Senate), the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment) Act, 2019 further amends the 2010 Act by increasing the powers of the Commission in enforcement of recovery of debt from persons owing legacy banks or seizure of property subject of loan obligation.
The new Act empowers AMCON to place any bank account or any other account comparable to a bank account of a debtor of an eligible financial institution under surveillance, obtain access to any computer system component, electronic or mechanical device of any debtor with a view to establishing the location of funds belonging to the debtor, and obtain information in respect of any private account together with all bank financial and commercial records of any debtor of any eligible financial institution, banking secrecy, and the protection of customer confidentiality is not a ground for the denial of the power of the Corporation under this section.’’
The statement explained that the Act makes it mandatory for AMCON to, despite the convention of confidentiality of banking, business and contracting relations to: “…furnish the Federal Government, Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a list of recalcitrant debtors and then impose an obligation to seek clearance on the Federal Government, Ministries, Departments and Agencies when the Federal Government, any Ministry, Department or Agency proposes to contract with, or pay, debtors on the list furnished by the Corporation.’’
It further provides that: “All money standing to the credits of the Corporation in any bank account is deemed to be in the custody and control of the Corporation; where any proceeding is pending in any court of competent jurisdiction by or against the Corporation, the grant of any interim, interlocutory or preservative order of attachment against the Corporation’s funds in any bank is prohibited.’’