The Chairman of Arik Air, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, has informed Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos that he has initiated settlement discussions with the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on how to resolve the takeover of the airline by the corporation.
Arumemi-Ikhide, who was represented by his counsel, Mr. Babajide Koku (SAN), consequently, requested an adjournment to enable parties explore settlement.
AMCON had penultimate week, taken over the management of the airline by appointed a receiver manager due to its indebtedness to the tune of N263.7 billion.
The takeover was consequent upon an ex-parte granted the corporation by the court.
When the case came up before the court last Tuesday for hearing of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed by AMCON and the Receiver Manager through their lawyer, Prof. Konyinsola Ajayi (SAN), Koku informed the court that he had filed two applications before the court namely: An application dated February 15, 2017, seeking an order striking out or dismissing the claim for being incompetent, or alternatively, an order discharging or setting aside the ex-parte order made on February 8, 2017.
Koku also informed the court of an application dated February 20, 2017, seeking orders of interlocutory injunction restraining the Receiver Manager from dissipating any property belonging to Arik; or taking and accepting any facility or loan; or terminating or renegotiating the subsisting contracts entered into by Arik, pending the hearing and determination of the originating summons.
In light of the foregoing, Justice Idris adjourned to February 28, 2017, for report of settlement and hearing of pending applications.
AMCON had declared that the total debt owed the corporation by businesses where Arumemi-Ikhide is a major shareholder amounts to N263.7 billion.
But the founder and Chairman of Arik Air had insisted that the total debt exposure the airline owed AMCON was N90 billion, admitting that the airline also owed Zenith Bank N35 billion, Access Bank N7 billion and Ecobank N12 billion, bringing the debts to N140 billion.
He alleged that AMCON management had acknowledged that N90 billion was the debt the airline owed the government agency and wondered where it got the extra N56 billion it added to the earlier debt, which both parties agreed on and endorsed.
Other debts he mentioned include debt owed Lufthansa Technic, a maintenance company that provides technical support to the airline, which is about $9.8 million, and the one owed Eurocontrol, which he said was less than £1 million.
Arumemi-Ikhide insisted that the airline had been paying debts owed aviation agencies and noted that when there was a disagreement over the total amount owed FAAN, the agency took Arik to court, in a case that is still subsisting.
He had also said the crash of the naira in value made it extremely difficult to generate enough revenues in the local currency to offset overseas debts in dollars.