-Details of the loan threatening Hardley Apartments
THE news of The Hardley Apartments, on Waziri Ibrahim Crescent, Victoria Island (Lagos) – owned by former international soccer star and Africa’s pride, Nwankwo Kanu, along with his estranged ex-banker friend, Ayoola Gam-Ikon – being taken over by Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) last week over alleged N924 million debt didn’t come as a surprise to close watchers.
Ever since the erstwhile business partners parted ways in 2012, with nasty and vexatious police and court cases to boot, it was clear that their cash-cow boutique hotel which once grossed N30 million monthly would experience several storms.
And this current travail, which may lead to the sale of the Hardley Apartments by AMCON, could have life-changing repercussions.
Here are some facts about the business which kicked off in 2005…
- The Hardley Apartments began on a promising note as the famous former Eagles captain joined forces with his then banker friend and began the hospitality business in 2005.
Kanu Nwankwo reportedly holds majority shareholding, with Ayoola Gam-Ikon having about a fifth of the business. He also managed it.
- Business boomed over the years, and money rolled in. And in 2007, they decided to expand and add another structure ( a six-storey building ) to the hotel.
They approached Skye Bank, and within the next two years, got loans of over N450 million.
- At the end of the renovation and construction of a new wing, the hotel had over 55 rooms and suites, and enjoyed patronage from high networth customers and companies.
- By 2011, over N300 million of the loan had been repaid.
But Skye Bank invited AMCON to take over the loan as it was said to be non-performing.
There were protests.
- In 2012, the partners (Kanu and Gam-Ikon) parted ways on a bitter note, with many accusations and counter accusations. Police waded in.
- On March 4, 2013, Ayo Gam Ikon was arraigned at a magistrate court in Lagos (charge number B/13/2013) on 21 count charge of stealing, fraudulent misappropriation and out-right fraud.
By July 30, 2015, the accused was discharged on the advice of the prosecutor since the matter was over a disagreement between partners.
- Before then, a civil matter was filed by Ayo Gam Ikon for winding up of the hotel and compensation.
At the time, the hotel was valued at over N3 billion.
The case by Gam-Ikon was against Kanu Nwankwo, Skye Bank, AMCON and others. The case is now before the Court of Appeal.
- Over the last three years, The Hardley Apartments had a rough time following the lull in hospitality business.
At a point, they even had problems with Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, over noise and air pollution which was quickly resolved.
- AMCON pursued its case of debt recovery which stood at N924,788,754.56 (as at October 15, 2015) against The Hardley Apartments.
And succeeded through an ex parte motion before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
The court ordered that all accounts of the former footballer, the hotel and Ayo Gam Ikon anywhere in Nigeria should be frozen, pending the hearing of the substantial suit.
- AMCON, in an affidavit sworn to by a credit officer, Victor Igabor, filed and argued by their lawyer, Niyi Olopade, claimed that a loan of N520,457,000 was granted by Skye Bank between May 2008 and January 2011.
- The loan was not repaid, and AMCON took over. By April 1, 2011, according to AMCON, the debt stood at N558,313,905.37. And by October 15, 2015, it hovered around N924,788,754.56.