Litigation over ALSCON hinders host communities’ devt

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By TONY NYONG

UYO—Legal practitioners have expressed regret that legal tussle over the privatisation of the Aluminium Smelter Plant in Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State, has hampered the development of the host communities.

It will be recalled that the Supreme Court on July 7,  ruled that BFI Group, the Nigerian-American consortium that emerged the preferred bidder for ALSCON in 2004, but was disqualified in controversial circumstances by BPE, was the valid winner of the bid.

The judgment had stripped UC Rusal, a Russian aluminum group that took over the plant in 2006 with a bid of $250 million, of the asset.

The lawyers, who expressed the views in separate interviews, observed that the plant had operated below its capacity.

Chief Assam Assam, SAN and Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, observed that the privatization of the plant was shrouded in controversy.

He said the Russian core investors were reluctant to inject fresh capital due to the uncertainties surrounding the privatization bid process.

He said: “The bid for the ALSCON plant was shrouded in controversy from day one. Was it BFIG that won? Was it Rusal that won from day one? So whatever investments you could have made wholeheartedly.”

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