The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on Thursday morning took over all the assets of several companies belonging to Senator Ben Murray- Bruce. The companies affected are Silverbird Galleria Limited, Silverbird Promotions Limited and Silverbird Showtime Limited.
AMCON had, by notice of appointment dated April 18, 2016, appointed Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN) receiver/manager over the assets of the three companies located at 133, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos; Plot No 1161 (Silverbird Galleria) Central Area Cadastral Zone AOO, Abuja; and the magnificent structure located at Abonnema Wharf Road and Abali Park in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The takeover was sequel to the interim orders granted by Justice C. M. Olatoregun of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on June 17 (Suit No. FHC/L/CS/790/16 - Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria & 3 Ors. v. Ben Murray Bruce & 4 others), which allowed the receiver/manager to take possession of the properties.
The properties were seen being locked up by agents of the receiver/manager in an exercise carried out under the full supervision of policemen, as directed by the court order, a copy of which was made available to SaharaReporters as early as 7:30 am. According to the order, Murray-Bruce’s companies are owing AMCON the sum of N11 billion, which the companies have defaulted in its payment. Counsel to the receiver/manager, Mr. Kunle Adegoke, told SaharaReporters that the exercise was conducted in accordance with the law.
“The exercise of this morning has all the paraphernalia of legality. Aside from the fact that the receivership was done pursuant to deeds of legal mortgages duly executed by the three companies and guaranteed by Ben Murray-Bruce and four of his brothers, there is a court order backing same 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 laborers who own the money,” Adegoke said.
Murray-Bruce, using his companies in 2005 and 2007 respectively, borrowed various sums of money from the Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and has consistently defaulted in his repayment obligations. “The said loan was purchased by AMCON in 2011 after the capital base of Union Bank was terribly shaky and the common sense senator has persistently failed to pay the loans and yet has been pretending to be concerned with the welfare of Nigerians whom he has been skinning alive in order to remain relevant and live like a king,” Adegoke said with barely disguised glee.
Realizing that the Senator was not ready to pay back the money, AMCON appointed a receiver/manager to recover the loan. While the agents of the receiver, officials of AMCON and large contingents of armed police officers were seen sealing up the premises of Silverbird Group of Companies in Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt, the staff of the companies were lamenting the failure of their principal to meet his obligations. All efforts to reach the senator proved abortive, as calls to his mobile phones were “being forwarded to another number”.
A younger brother of the Senator, Guy Murray Bruce came in while the repossession was going on but drove out a few minutes later. Silverbird employees and staff of other companies who use the Galleria are outside, some waiting in the car park just opposite the Galleria.