Lawyer  Sues AMCON And AGF Over The Amended AMCON Act 2019, Asks Court to Declare Provisions Unconstitutional

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A Port Harcourt based legal practitioner, Ugonna Elenwoke has dragged the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation before the Federal High Court seeking orders nullifying sections of the Assets Management Corporation (Amendment No. 2) Act signed into law by President Buhari in 2019 for being unconstitutional, null and void.

In the originating summons in suit number FHC/PH/CS/65/2020 dated 15th June 2020 filed before the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt and presided over by Hon. Justice I. M. Sani, the Plaintiff, Ugonna Elenwoke is posed the following questions for the court’s determination:

  1. WHETHER the provision of Sections 6 (1) (ua) (i) & (ii) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment No. 2) Act, 2019 are inconsistent with Section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and thus unconstitutional, null and void.
  2. WHETHER the provision of Section 33 (A) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment No. 2) Act, 2019 is inconsistent with Section 4 (8) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and thus unconstitutional, null and void.
  3. WHETHER the provisions of Section 19 (5) and 34 (6) & (7) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment No. 2) Act, 2019 have a chilling effect on the judicial powers of the court under Section 6 (6) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and are consequently unconstitutional, null and void thereto.
  4. WHETHER in view of the clear provision of Section 1 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the entire provisions of Section 6 (1) (ua) (i) and (ii); 19 (5); 33 (A); 34 (6) & (7) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment No. 2) Act, 2019 are unconstitutional, null and void.

In light of the above questions, the Plaintiff seeks the following declarations:

  1. A DECLARATION that the provisions of Section 6 (1) (ua) (i) and (ii) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment No. 2) Act, 2019 are inconsistent with Section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and thus unconstitutional, null and void.
  2. A DECLARATION that the provisions of Section 33 (A) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment No. 2) Act, 2019 is inconsistent with Section 4 (8) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and thus unconstitutional, null and void.
  3. A DECLARATION that the provisions of Section 19 (5) and 34 (6) and (7) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment No. 2) Act, 2019 have a chilling effect on the judicial powers of the court under Section 6 (6) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and are consequently unconstitutional, null and void.
  4. A DECLARATION that in view of the clear provision of Section 1 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the entire provisions of Section 6 (1) (ua) (i) and (ii); 19 (5); 33 (A); 34 (6) and (7) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment No. 2) Act, 2019 are unconstitutional, null and void.

In the 20 paragraph affidavit in support of the summons deposed to by the Plaintiff, Mr. Elenwoke averred that by reason of being a tax paying Nigerian citizen and legal practitioner with bias for litigation involving secured credit transactions, he was conversant with the provisions of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment No. 2) Act 2019 and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria including its Constitution which I swore to support and uphold as a legal practitioner.

He argued that  Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) guarantees the right of privacy of all citizens of Nigeria, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications and that S. 6 (1) (ua) (i) and (ii) of the AMCON Act, 2019 as amended which empowers AMCON to via exparte order, place any bank account or other comparable account of perceived debtors under surveillance; gain access to any computer system component, electronic or mechanical device of named debtors with a view to establishing the location of funds belonging to them and obtain information of any private account and commercial records of debtors was not only intrusive and a clear violation of the constitution right of privacy of the named debtors but that they are also very arbitrary given that the basis of such powers are mere commercial disputes and upon unilateral allegation of indebtedness by AMCON.

Furthermore, he argued that Section 19(5) which prohibits courts from granting orders of attachment against AMCON funds in any bank when proceedings are pending in court and Section 34 (6) bars courts from granting injunctions AMCON in any proceeding, in relation to the exercise or intended exercise of its powers and further limits claimant’s remedy to monetary compensation under which Section 34 (7) excludes aggravated, punitive or exemplary damages clearly do violence to the judicial powers vested on courts of superior record under section 6 of the constitution and are by this fact clearly unconstitutional.

Similarly, the Plaintiff argues that Section 33A of the amended Act operates as an ouster clause in clear violation of Section 4 (8) of the 1999 Constitution and submits that in view of Section 1 (3) of the Constitution, Section 6 (1) (ua) (i) and (ii); 19 (5); 33 (A) and 34 (6) & (7) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment No. 2) Act, 2019 are inconsistent with Section 4 (8); 6 (6) and 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) respectively and urges the court to invalidate the said sections by declaring same unconstitutional, null and void.

The suit has been fixed for hearing on the 28th of September, 2020

 

 
 



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