N537m Debt: Donald Duke Cleared After N350m Payment
File: Donald Duke

A former Cross River State Governor Donald Duke has been cleared of his N537,334,360.77 debt to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) by a Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday.

This came after the payment of N350 million as final settlement to the Federal Government agency.

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The court discharged its August 21 interim order, which permitted AMCON and the United Bank for Africa (UBA) to seize Duke’s properties and funds in his accounts.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo cleared Duke, following settlement terms filed and moved by AMCON’s legal team from Benson Reeds Legal Practitioners in Abuja.

AMCON counsel Mrs Juliet Benson told the judge that Duke had fulfilled the terms of the out-of-court settlement and that both parties agreed to the terms.

“I hereby pray the court to adopt the terms of settlement as the judgment of court,” Mrs Benson said.

Duke’s counsel Edoigiawerie Omoruyi confirmed that his client had “shown good faith by promptly making the payment of over N350 million, which all the parties agreed to”.

He added: “I join my colleagues in praying the court to enter our terms of settlement as the full and final judgment of court.”

In a bench ruling, Justice Oweibo upheld their prayers, saying: “All orders in the case stand discharged.”

The ruling comes as a reprieve for the former governor who was on the verge of losing his properties following the court order in August.

Recall that Justice Chuka Obiozor on August 8, 2019, ordered the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and the United Bank for Africa to take possession of the Ikoyi home.

The order was pursuant to an ex parte application, marked, FHC/L/CS/1373/2019, taken before the judge by AMCON and UBA.

Listed as first to third defendants were Stonehedge Investment Limited, Donald Duke and Owanari Bob-Manuel Duke, respectively.

The applicants had prayed the court for “an order of interim attachment, possession, and custody of the property being No. 3, Temple Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.”