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Nigeria FCT court insists on Supreme Court ruling on ALSCON

Metal News - Published on Tue, 05 Dec 2017

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Today NG reported that High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama said that enforcing the Supreme Court order of July 6, 2012 remains the most viable option to resolve the lingering crisis over the sale of the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, Ikot Abasi. In his November 8 ruling in suit No FCT/HC/CV/522/2011 by BFIG against UC RUSAL and its allies, the judge, Jude Okeke said enforcing the order was the best remedy for aggrieved parties in the dispute over the ownership of the USD 3.2 billion plant.

The Supreme Court had issued “an order of specific performance” directing the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, to reinstate BFIG as winner of the bid for the sale of ALSCON.

In its place, the apex court ordered the privatisation agency to provide the “mutually agreed share purchase agreement, SPA,” negotiated in 2004 for execution, to enable BFIG pay the agreed 10 % of the accepted price of USD 410 million within 15 working days from the date of the execution of the SPA.

Besides, the court placed an order of perpetual injunction restraining BPE from inviting any other bid for the sale of ALSCON.

In his 47-page judgement, the judge said the Supreme Court’s ruling had finally laid to rest contentions about the right to ALSCON.

The judge ruled that “The Supreme Court held that the acceptance of the bid price of USD 410 million by BFIG for the acquisition of 77.5 % shares as core investor in ALSCON on June 14, 2014 constituted a binding contract with BPE, while the declaration of the company as the preferred bidder by the NCP (National Council on Privatisation) as valid, extant and irrevocable.”

In February 2013, BFIG filed the case against BPE for the refusing to uphold the Supreme Court order for its reinstatement after the NCP had declared it the winner of the bid for ALSCON.

Other defendants in the case included UC RUSAL and its allies, JSC Bratsk Aluminium Plant, RUSAL America and Dayson Holding.

BFIG accused them of conspiracy to defraud, unfair competition and ‘tortuous interference’ in its contractual relations over prospective business advantage in the acquisition of ALSCON.

The Nigerian government and the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF were later joined, for failing to take steps to enforce the Supreme Court order.

Although ruling in the case was first scheduled for September 26, 2017, it was reserved till November 8, as the judge requested a postponement, to enable him recover fully from a medical condition.

Later, in his judgment, Mr. Okeke noted that the Supreme Court, by its July 6, 2012 ruling, agreed that BFIG was unfairly treated by the “illegal cancellation of the contract of the sale of ALSCON and subsequent resale of the plant to UC RUSAL.”

Regardless, the judge decided to strike out BFIG’s application, arguing that it was difficult granting it damages against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the AGF, despite their refusal to uphold rule of law.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 05 Dec 2017
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