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NIPP Privatisation: Ethiope Energy v BPE

  • June 19, 2014
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The Federal High Court, Abuja was on Wednesday, 30/04/2014 informed that Ethiope Energy Limited and the Bureau of Public Enterprises were unable to reach an out-of-court settlement in the dispute over the bid process for three National Integrated Power Plant stations.

At the instance of Ethiope Energy Limited, the court, presided by Justice Abdul Kafarati, had on March 17 stopped the BPE from going ahead with the bid process for the Alaoji, Omoku and Gbarain power stations.

Following the development, the two parties informed the court of their desire to settle the matter out-of-court.

However, when the matter came up for report of settlement on Wednesday, counsel to Ethiope Energy, Bello Abu, announced that the parties were unable to reach an amicable settlement of the issues in dispute and asked the court to set a date for hearing.

The BPE counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, SAN, and counsel to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited, Mr. Mathew Echo, both confirmed the failure of the planned out-of-court-settlement.

In a related development, the 2nd defendant, NDPHCN, has filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja in a bid to set aside the March 17 order, which stopped the BPE from going ahead with the privatisation of the three power stations.

In a notice of appeal filed by its lawyer, Dr. Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, the company said Justice Kafarati overreached himself when he granted the reliefs sought in the substantive suit before hearing from the respondents.

The NDPHC also accused the judge of denying it fair hearing when he failed to consider the oral submissions made by its counsel before granting the interim order.

The company, therefore, asked the appellate court to set aside the interim order.

The dispute ensued after the BPE commenced the bid process for Alaoji, Omoku and Gbarain power stations on March 7, 2014.

Ethiope Energy, which claimed it also submitted bids for the power stations, said it was excluded from the process and approached the court for an order to stop the BPE from going ahead with the bid process.

In the statement of claim filed by its lawyer, Dr. Alex A. Izinyon, SAN, Ethiope Energy accused the BPE of bias, prejudice, conflict of interest and manipulation of the technical bid evaluation.

Source: Punch Newspaper

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