BFIG: BPE Moves to Halt Execution of Committal Order


Peter Uzoho

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) yesterday disclosed that it had filed a motion for stay of execution and a Notice of Appeal against the judgment delivered yesterday by Justice Justice Anwuri Chikere of the Federal High Court Abuja in a committal proceeding instituted against it and its Director General, Mr. Alex A. Okoh in a case between BFIG and the privatisation agency.

Chikere yesterday ordered that Okoh be remanded in prison for a minimum of 30 days.

Chikere accused Okoh of serial disobedience of the Supreme Court order over the ownership the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON).

But BPE said in a statement last night that the committal proceeding followed an allegation that it failed to fully execute the orders of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal in the suits filed by BFIG in respect of the ALSCON located in Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State.

The Supreme Court had ruled that BFIG, an Nigerian-American consortium, was the valid winner of the bid for ALSCON, which was conducted in 2004 by the BPE.

The BPE said the committal order was made against it following a filing by BFIG that it failed to comply with the orders of the Supreme Court and the appellate court in respect of the bid.

“The Bureau had at all times complied with all judgments in respect of ALSCON. However, BFIG has serially defaulted in meeting its financial commitments as directed by the courts to pay the bid price of $410 million as submitted by BFIG in 2004.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria is committed to economic development through privatisation and putting its assets to optimal use through the course of fairness and due process”, the BPE said.

ALSCON, located at Ikot Abasi in Akwa Ibom State, has been the subject of an ownership struggle since the federal government privatised the firm in 2004. Russia’s Rusal claims ownership of the company while BFIG won a Supreme Court ruling backing its ownership claim.

However, the federal government has allegedly refused to transfer ownership of the firm to BFIG.