ALSCON DEAL: Ex-BPE DG, Alex Okoh Acquitted Of Contempt Charges In BFIG Case

The former Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh, been acquitted of contempt charges in a legal dispute between BPE and BFIG, over the ownership and operation of Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), in Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State.

The decision of the Federal High Court in Abuja to acquit Okoh was predicated on the Court’s findings that there was no basis to hold him in contempt and commital over the said dispute.

Okoh, who was relieved of his position as DG of BPE in January 2024, had battled contempt charges and commital rulings by courts up to the Supreme Court. His court troubles began in December 2019, when a Judge of a Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Anwuli Chikere, ordered his arrest and imprisonment, after accusing him of disobedience of the Supreme Court order over the ownership controversy of the ALSCON.

However, another Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice D.U. Okorowo, has upheld Okoh’s request for dismissal and discharge of the contempt/committal and all charges thereof, in Suit Number FHC/ABJ/CS/583/2004 between BFI Group Corporation (judgment creditor/respondent) and BPE (judgment debtor/respondent.

Okoh, who approached the Federal High Court with the yoke of a contemnor, however, secured the discharge as contained in an enrolled order issued by the court on Friday April 5, 2024.

The order by the judge (Justice Okorowo), was sequel to a motion on notice dated and filed on March 12, 2024, praying the Court to direct that the contemnor/applicant (Alex Okoh) be discharged.

In the ruling, the judge said he listened to the motion moved by Mrs J.O. Adesina (SAN) and others for Okoh, and the response by the opponent’s lawyers led by P.I.N Ikwueto (SAN) for the judgment creditor/respondent, who he said did not oppose the application.

“It is further ordered that in the light of the submission of judgment creditor/respondent counsel and to uphold the majesty of the Court in particular the decision of the apex court on the entire judgment that led to the contempt proceedings that BPE are duty bound to continue to fully abide by the order handed down by the Supreme Court in appeal number SC/12/2004 by satisfying the said judgment,” thr Judge held.

The judge said the ruling from the apex court affecting the case was where the Supreme Court gave an order restraining the BPE, their servants, agents, privies, management or however called from “Negotiating to sell, selling, transferring or otherwise handing over the Aluminum Smelter Company Nigeria Limited (ALSCON) to any person in violation of the contract between the BPE and BFIG.”

Okoh was appointed DG of BPE on April 13, 2017, five years after the said ruling of the Supreme Court, and was relieved of the position on January 8, 2024, three weeks before the contempt ruling of January 26, 2024.

Share This Article
Leave a comment