Port Harcourt — The controversy surrounding the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, in Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State, has taken a new turn as the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria, ICEN, has written President Muhammadu Buhari, over alleged refusal of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, to obey the Supreme Court judgment on the firm.
To this end, ICEN is asking President Buhari to sack the Director General of BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh, for refusing to obey the rule of law, saying that public officers must be held accountable for their actions and inaction, since their misdeeds affect all Nigerians and, accordingly, activating a negative trend on the economy.
The letter, which is titled “Compassionate appeal for an action of Mr President to end monumental fraud committed against the commonwealth of Nigerians by Alex Okoh, Director General of BPE,” was copied to the Senate President, National Security Adviser, EFCC, Akwa Ibom State Governor and the Chief Judge, Federal High Court, Abuja, among others.
ICEN Chief Coordinator, South South, Mr. Friday Nathaniel Udoh, in the letter, said BPE’s action was inimical and contrary to President Buhari’s position to rescue the country from the grip of poverty, the major driver of conflicts, insurgency and all sorts of criminality in the country.
Udoh alleged that Dayson Holding Ltd/UC Rusal’s acquisition of ALSCON was fraudulent and that the transfer of strategic national asset (Import substitution Industry) as declared by the Supreme Court judgment of 2012 remains illegal.
The letter reads in part, “I pray that Mr. President immediately vacate Mr. Alex Okoh from his position as the BPE boss. Mr. Okoh should be made to face the law even as he is currently standing trial at the Federal High Court on matter that is bothered on the contempt of court, considered too slow against reasonableness of time in similar matter”.
It added: “DHL/UC Rusal $163 million debt liability claimed according to the company report filed with the National Assembly be investigated. Hold accountable DHL/UC Rusal and BPE the asset stripping and cannibalisation of the $3.2 billion plant built at the instance of Nigerians’ money.
“Rule of Law be upheld in this matter and BPE be called to implement the specific orders of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, with regard to the execution of ‘the mutually agreed Share Purchase Agreement (SPA)’ free from encumbrances to the latter immediately.
“BPE be made to tender the proof for the supposedly payment of $130million by DHL/UC RUSAL and to the specific account that the money was lodged. DHL/UC Rusal and the conspirator be made to refund the amount involved plus interest, including the purported reduction from the $250 million purchase price for dredging since 2007 and which never happened.”
ICEN, in the letter, further said the closure of ALSCON has downed the economy by over 5percent of its Gross Domestic Product with potential to stifling investment inflow currently experiencing in the country with corresponding 10 percent rise in business cost.