BFIG wants UC RUSAL to join it in its suit filed against the Federal Government.
The Nigerian-American company, BFIGroup Corporation, which was declared recently by the Supreme Court as the valid winner of the bid for the $3.2billion Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, says it would apply to be joined with the Federal Government in the suit filed by UC RUSAL at the International Arbitration Court, IAC, over the ownership of the plant.
BFIG was disqualified by the Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE, in controversial circumstances , after the National Council on Privatisation, NCP, had declared it the preferred bidder for the plant in 2004.
A legal protest against the annulment had culminated in a landmark ruling of the Supreme Court on July 6 reinstating BFIG as the authentic winner, while stripping UC RUSAL of the ownership of the plant.
But the Russians, in defiance of the apex court’s ruling ordering the BPE to take steps to retrieve the plant and hand over to the bona fide owners, have since dragged the Federal Government to the International Arbitration Court, IAC, in London.
BFIG says since it is an interested party, the direct beneficiary of the Supreme Court ruling, it will like UC RUSAL to join it in the suit filed against the Federal Government.
As part of its application, UC RUSAL is seeking an order prohibiting the execution of the Supreme Court order to its detriment and, alternatively, granting over $500 million damages should it suffer a loss to its ownership of the stake in ALSCON.
“The ruling of Nigeria’s Supreme Court neither changes, nor can change the owner of ALSCON,” the Managing Director of UC Rusal ALSCON, Anatoliy Polovov, declared in a statement to ALSCON employees shortly after the Supreme Court ruling last July.
“ALSCON remains part of UC RUSAL and RUSAL’s plans to develop and transform the plant into a cutting edge and highly technological enterprise are in progress. RUSAL as a good faith purchaser of ALSCON is ready to protect its ownership even through a litigation in the International Arbitration Court in London,” he said.
But BFIGroup President, Reuben Jaja, said on Wednesday that the claims by the Russians may compel the company to consider seeking to be joined in the case in London to seize the opportunity to prove that UC RUSAL does not have a valid contract giving it the right to make any claim over ALSCON.
“The man who signed the share purchase agreement of the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, Ikot Abasi, did not have the authority or instruction to do so,” Mr. Jaja said. “The only signatory to the share purchase agreement in Nigeria between the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, and Dayson Holdings is one Nicholai Nicoshelivy.
“When we pressed Nicholai in the US court, he testified under oath and submitted written documents to the effect that he had no such power or authority to sign that document. In other words, the agreement given ALSCON to UC RUSAL is null and void.”
According to Mr. Jaja, it was because Nicholai Nicoshelivy “realized that he committed fraud against Nigeria that he said he was not going to come to Nigeria if the judge transferred our (BFIG) case from New York to Nigeria.”
“The company that bought ALSCON is known as Dayson Holdings Limited registered in the British Virgin Islands. It is the only name you will see on the share purchase agreement between Nigeria and the Russians. There is nothing about RUSAL there.
“If you want to enforce anything on ALSCON, it will be against Dayson Holdings Limited. We sued them in the USA (Dayson, RUSAL). We forced them to come and tell the world who they are. Dayson came, and they have only one director, one John Martin Parker, who is the sole director, with no overlap of board or management position with RUSAL.
“They have no ownership interest with RUSAL. RUSAL also denied this and described Dayson as an indirect subsidiary, which the judge asked them whose direct subsidiary is it,” Mr. Jaja said.
He, however, identified some Nigerians a former National Security Adviser, son of a one-time military head of state and another son of a civilian president as those hiding behind Dayson Holdings to claim ownership of ALSCON, adding that John Martin Parker is like a trustee of a blind trust, while Dayson Holdings is a Commonwealth trust registered in Totola British Virgin Islands.
According to the BFIG President, if the company’s request is granted and it is allowed to be joined in the case at the IAC, “we will reveal that UC RUSAL has no valid contract over ALSCON. They occupied the plant illegally and ran it down from N127 billion in 2004 to about N14.5 billion today. Thereafter, EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) will have to take over the case, because it is an absolute crime against the nation.”