15 October 2014, Abuja – The controversy over the privatisation of Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State, has continued to rage as Bureau of Public Enterprises, PBE, said yesterday, that BFI Group, BFIG, had no basis to lay claim to the company.
The Federal High Court in Abuja, had on September 30 decided that BFIG was the owner of ALSCON.
BFIG won the original bid for the nation’s only smelter company, but in a twist of high level power-play, the company was given to RUSAL, a company which was publicly disqualified by BPE at the financial bid opening for submitting “a conditional bid.”
BFIG, therefore, went to court to challenge the action of the Federal Government.
The case was decided in its favour by the Supreme Court in 2012 after nearly a decade of legal battle.
However, Rusal and BPE argue that BFIG had failed to comply with the Supreme Court judgment of July 6, 2012, as it had not paid for the company and, therefore, had no right to the shares of the company in question or to ALSCON plant.
BPE’s spokesman, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, said in a statement in Abuja, yesterday: “Following various media accounts on the alleged takeover of ALSCON by the BFIG, BPE would like to put on record that it has not handed over ALSCON to BFIG or, for that matter, any other group other than the present managers, RUSAL.
“It is important to note that BPE only hands over Federal Government assets to those who bid and fully pay the bid consideration. BFIG has not paid a kobo.
“As a result, BPE’s position has long been that it performed its obligations under the Supreme Court decision of July 6, 2012.
“But BFIG failed to perform its part of the obligations. The result being, in our opinion, that BFIG has no right to the said shares.
“The decision of September 30 of the Federal High Court in Abuja in BFIG’s case against BPE to “enforce” the Supreme Court judgment, in our opinion, is in error.”
“That decision is already a subject of an appeal.”