The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria on Thursday morning sealed the Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt premises of Silverbird Galleria belonging to Senator Ben Murray-Bruce.
The Abuja Galleria currently houses the Abuja studio of the senator’s Rhythm FM radio station and Silverbird Television station as well as his other business interests. The one in Lagos hosts the Silverbird Cinema and outfits belonging to other people.
The buildings were sealed by AMCON through the assistance of officers of the Nigerian Police Force at about 8am, following a court order secured by the corporation.
The Federal High Court, Lagos Division, had on Friday, June 17, 2016, granted an interim injunction against Silverbird Productions Limited, Silverbird Showtime Limited, Silverbird Galleria Limited and Ben Murray-Bruce, Guy Murray-Bruce, Roy Murray-Bruce and Jonathan Murray-Bruce on the application of AMCON.
AMCON said in a statement that it had since appointed M. A. Banire SAN as receiver to the companies.
It added that Justice C.M.A. Olatoregun, while granting the order on the application of the counsel for AMCON, restrained Ben Murray-Bruce and other obligors that owed AMCON over N10bn from challenging, interfering with or obstructing or frustrating the receiver appointed by the corporation over the fixed and floating assets of the listed companies.
AMCON added that the senator had been in protracted negotiations with it over the indebtedness.
The corporation added, “Contrary to news making the rounds since the takeover, AMCON did not shut down the concerned companies. We appointed a receiver that took over the companies in the early hours of Thursday, June 23, 2016 as ordered by the Federal High Court and the receiver will be responsible for the companies on behalf of AMCON going forward.
“The court order affects the mortgaged asset located at Central Area, Cadastral Zone, AOO Plot No. 1161, Abuja; the mortgaged asset on Abonnema Wharf Road and Abali Park in Port Harcourt, Rivers State; as well as the mortgaged asset at 133 Ahmadu Bello Way, Lagos where the Silverbird Galleria is located.
“The court also ordered the Inspector General of Police, Assistant Inspectors General of Police, and the Commissioner of Police in charge of Lagos State and all other police officers under them to assist M. A. Banire SAN, the receiver; and the bailiffs of the Federal High Court in the enforcement of the orders of the court.”
Conspicuously written on the fence of the galleria in Abuja as well as other strategic locations was an enforcement notice by AMCON, which read, “Possession taken by court order — 23/06/16.”
AMCON also pasted a copy of the court order that gave it the right to seal the properties.
The court order, pasted on the walls of the property, was signed by the Registrar, Federal High Court, Lagos, Mr. Rasaq Sule.
The court order mentioned Ben Murray-Bruce, Guy Murray-Bruce, Michael Murray-Bruce, Roy Murray-Bruce and Jonathan Murray-Bruce as defendants in the suit.
It stated that AMCON had bought the indebtedness as an eligible bank asset from Union Bank of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Ben Murray-Bruce, on his Twitter handle, said that the situation was already being resolved.
He wrote, “I have been on an international flight and have only just landed. The situation is being resolved and things will be back to normal.
“In 36 years, Silverbird has grown and like anybody, it will face challenges. Tough times don’t last, but we as tough people outlast them.”