NIPP Privatisation: Ethiope Energy, BPE to settle out of court

Olorunshogo power plant26 March 2014, Abuja – Ethiope Energy Limited has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that it is exploring an out-of-court settlement of its dispute with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) over the bid process for three National Integrated Power Plants (NIPPs) stations.

Last week, a Federal High Court in Abuja had at the instance of the company,  stopped the BPE from going ahead with the bid process for three NIPP currently undergoing privatisation.  The affected power stations are Alaoji, Omoku and Gbarain. When the matter came up  yesterday, counsel to Ethiope Energy, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) told the court that there were moves to settle the dispute out of court.

He therefore applied for adjournment to enable the parties continue with the negotiations.
The trial judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati consequently adjourned the matter to enable the parties continue with the out-of-court settlement.

Justice Kafarati, had last week, in a short ruling for an order of injunction, said: “It is apparent that the defendants have been served with the motion on notice and they failed to brief their counsel.
“An order of interim injunction is hereby granted against the 1st defendant from further going on with the bid process for the power stations.” The BPE had commenced the bid process for Alaoji, Omoku and Gbarain power stations on March 7.

However, Ethiope Energy, which claimed it also submitted bids for the power stations, said it was excluded from the process.

Not satisfied with its exclusion, Ethiope approached the court for an order to stop the BPE from going ahead with the bid process.

In the statement of claim filed through Izinyon, Ethiope accused the Chairman of Due Diligence Committee, Mr. Atedo Peterside, of having an enormous influence on the BPE.

The company said Peterside had been having a running battle with its Chairman, Chief Johnson Arumemi, who was hostile and had animosity for him.

Ethiope accused the BPE of bias, prejudice, conflict of interest, manipulation of the technical bid evaluation, due diligence exercise and that Peterside should have excused himself completely in the whole evaluation as it related to the plaintiff owing to the animosity and litigation he had instituted against its chairman.

Other defendants in the suit are the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

Izinyon had begged Justice Kafarati to stop the BPE from going ahead with the bid process, pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

He argued that despite being put on notice, the defendants were going ahead with the process.
“Despite being put on notice, they went ahead to take initial steps to overreach the motion on notice.
“They said that there is no court order stopping them from going on with the bid process. They had ample time to file a brief concerning the case but they failed to do so because we served them on March 6, 2014, the last time the case came up. Till date, no process has been filed by them in this case.

“The court can make an interim order stopping them from taking further steps in the exercise because the case cannot be in court and the defendant will continue to take further steps that will destroy the res of this case,” he said.


– This Day

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