Supreme Court Upholds Ex-BPE DG, Alex Okoh’s Committal To Prison for Contempt

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the prison sentence of the former Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), Alex Okoh, for contempt.

Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had in December 2019 committed Okoh to 30-day in prison for contempt of court.

He was committed to prison for snubbing the Supreme Court ruling on the Aluminum Smelting Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) ownership tussle.

A Nigerian-American consortium, BFIGroup, in 2004 won the bid to take over ALSCON in 2004 but was overruled by BPE under Okoh’s watch.

Dissatisfied with the development, the consortium approached the apex court to resolve the matter.

In a ruling delivered in 2012, the Supreme Court declared BFIG as the winner of the ALSCON bid.

BPE, however, refused to comply with the ruling.

BFIG initiated contempt proceedings against the BPE and Okoh in April 2019.

After the FHC committed Okoh to prison in December 2019, the agency approached the Appeal Court for a stay of execution of the judgement.

The appeal court affirmed the lower court’s ruling and ordered that the BPE boss be committed to prison for contempt.

The agency, thereafter, approached the Supreme Court to set aside the order.

In Friday’s proceeding, the apex court panel led by Justice Tijani Abubakar resolved all the issues against the appellants.

The court also awarded N20 million cost in favour of BFIG.

The panel described as scandalous, shameful, and disgraceful the appellants’ decision to disobey several orders on the matter.