The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, has sealed the premises of Silverbird Galleria in Abuja, belonging to Ben Murray-Bruce a member of the Nigerian Senate.
Two other companies belonging to the Bayelsa State senator has also been taken over by AMCON, including Silverbird Promotions Limited, and Silverbird Showtime Limited.
AMCON had on April 18 appointed Muiz Banire as Receiver/Manager over the sprawling assets of the three companies located at 133 Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos; Plot No 1161 Central Area Cadastral Zone AOO, Abuja; and Abonnema Wharf Road and Abali Park in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The takeover is sequel to an interim injunction granted by Justice Cecilia Olatoregun-Ishola of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on June 17 which allowed the Receiver/Manager to take possession of the said properties.
The properties were locked up by the agents of the Receiver/Manager in an exercise carried out under the supervision of men of the Nigerian police as directed by the Court order at around 8 am Thursday morning.
In the said order, Ben Murray Bruce’s companies are owing AMCON the sum of N11 billion which the companies have defaulted in paying up.
Kunle Adegoke, counsel to the Receiver/Manager, said the sealing up of the properties was lawful as there is a court order backing it up.
“It must be borne in mind that innocent depositors’ money is what the Common-sense propagator and his brothers have been living large and feeding fat upon, without recourse to the interest of the real labourers who own the money,” Adegoke said.
He explained that Murray-Bruce had used his companies to borrow monies from the Union Bank Plc in 2005 and 2007, but has defaulted in paying it back. He added that AMCON had purchased the loan from Union Bank in 2011 after the capital base of the bank became really shaky.
Adegoke said that a Receiver/Manager was appointed by AMCON to recover the loan when it became obvious Bruce was not ready to pay back the money.
Adegoke said it was hypocritical for the ‘Common sense’ senator to be pretending to have the welfare of Nigerians in mind while at the same time living luxuriously on proceeds from a loan he has refused to pay back.
Agents of the Receiver/Manager and officials of AMCON were seen on Thursday, sealing up the Silverbird premises in Abuja, Lagos and Port-Harcourt, backed by armed security personnel.
Murray-Bruce could not be reached for comments as calls to his phone lines were “not connecting.
However in a brief statement via his twitter handle, the common-sense senator said he was aboard an international flight at the time, adding that “the situation is being resolved and things will be back to normal.”
“In 36 years, Silverbird has grown and like any body, it will face challenges. Tough times don’t last. But we, as tough people, outlast them.”