Legal Nigeria

Aba power tussle: Court offered Nnaji’s firm nothing to celebrate, Enugu Disco insists 0

 By CHRIS IWARAH
 Enugu Electricity Distribution Plc (EEDC) has described claims by Aba Power Limited (APL) and Geometric Power Limited (GPL) over some sections of its Aba, Abia State network as an attempt to misrepresent facts and stand truth on its head.
All reliefs sought by APL and GPL, which are promoted by former Minister of Power, Professor Bath Nnaji, in a suit they instituted at the Federal High Court over the matter, EEDC said, were refused by the trial judge.
The order of the court that Interstate Electrics Limited and EEDC should continue to recognise APL as tenants of EEDC in the “ring fenced” area, it claimed, was nothing to celebrate. The order, the company insisted, offered APL and GPL nothing to celebrate as it had no basis in law.
Giving a background to the dispute, EEDC said: “In 2011 the Federal Government through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) advertised for Expression of Interest (EOI) for the sale of government shares in 17 of the 18 PHCN successor companies, that is six Gencos and Discos, including EEDC. Several companies participated in the bid process for the acquisition of EEDC. These included Interstate Electrics Limited and Eastern Electric Limited, a consortium which included APL.
“The information published by BPE for the transaction contained an inventory of assets of EEDC, which included all the assets in Aba ‘ring fenced’ area. The valuation of EEDC assets put at $209 million included the Aba assets and the offer price of $126 million for 60% equity in EEDC included the affected assets in the Aba ring fenced areas. Throughout the bid process there was no time APL or GPL raised any objection to the inclusion of the Aba ring fenced area as part of EEDC network area being offered to be transferred to private investors.
“It was only after a rigorous and most transparent bid process in which Interstate Electrics Limited emerged as the preferred bidder that GPL and APL started raising issues of the lease agreement for Aba area.
“Interstate Electrics made it clear to BPE during the negotiation of the Share Sale Agreement and Shareholders Agreement that the listed areas form part of the network area it bid and would pay for. In fact, the affected areas in Aba, which generate about 25% of EEDC revenue, could not have been glossed over by any discerning investor.”
An attempt by APL and GPL to restrain BPE from transferring the Aba ring fenced area, EEDC claimed, collapsed in court. The court, it said, also refused APL and GPL’s prayer to reverse the handover of the Ariaria and Aba business units.
Stressing that the Board of Directors of EEDC comprised credible local and international investors, including Sir Emeka Offor, former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, former Attorney-General of the Federation  and Minister of Justice, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN) and Robert Dickerman, the company said it had also sought the judicial pronouncement of the Court of Appeal on the order of the trial court that it should continue to recognise APL as its tenant, even though the order offered its opponents no “largesse” to celebrate.
Explaining that it was refraining from commenting on the legality of the “supplemental agreements” and “lease arrangement” GPL and APL had with the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) as the issue was already a subject of litigation, EEDC said it was, however, willing to buy all power generated by GPL at commercial rates.
Credit : The Sun

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