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Friday, September 13

Donald Duke: I didn’t owe AMCON N569 million

A former Cross River State Governor Donald Duke on Thursday denied ever owing the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) N537,334,360.77.
He said what he owed AMCON was N350 million which he claimed to have paid.
The former governor said some people used the news of his alleged debt to jest at him.
Duke said AMCON claimed that he owed an extra N137,334,360.77 and when he disputed this figure, it filed a suit against him to arm-twist him into paying the disputed sum.
AMCON, on August 8, sealed off Duke’s Ikoyi home and gained interim control of his bank accounts, after obtaining an order from a Federal High Court in Lagos.
But the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in this year’s general election accused AMCON of merely making a “media circus” with the suit.
In a statement on Thursday, Duke said: “Recently, an obligation I had to AMCON has made the news. Whilst I do not understand the excitement this has generated, bearing in mind that debts far in excess of this have not received a whisper, clearly some people are having fun at my expense.
“Nevertheless, I think it appropriate now that the issue has been laid to rest, to state my side of the matter, considering the fervour the story generated.
“AMCON made a claim of N569 million against me, which I disputed. I guess to arm-twist me, they proceeded to court and created a media circus. Having done what I consider their worst, I insisted on what I believe is the correct amount. We have since agreed to this amount and the sum of N340 million has been paid.
“I hope this takes the air off the sail of those who made a mountain out of a molehill. There was nothing to be excited about, after all.”
On September 11, vacation judge Justice Nicholas Oweibo cleared Duke of the N537,334,360.77 debt after he paid N350 million as final settlement.
The court discharged its August 21 interim order which had permitted AMCON and the United Bank for Africa (UBA) to seize Duke’s properties and funds in his accounts.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo cleared the former governor, following the settlement terms filed and moved by AMCON’s legal team from Benson Reeds Legal Practitioners, Abuja.
“All orders in the case stand discharged,” the court said.
AMCON’s counsel, Mrs Juliet Benson, told the judge that Duke had fulfilled the terms of the out-of-court settlement and both parties agreed on the terms.

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