THE legal adviser to Vigeo Power Limited, majority shareholders in Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc (BEDC), has commenced contempt proceedings against the Federal Government’s Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) over what it considered was an illegal take-over of the power distribution company (DisCo).
BEDC disclosed in a statement that the law firm of Kunle Adegoke, lawyer to Vigeo Power Ltd, said the contempt proceedings had become imperative.
The law firm said this was because the attention of its client was drawn to a publication issued by the BPE on July 13, 2022, in which the Bureau strove to justify its take-over of BEDC.
The lawyer said the take-over was despite an order issued by the Federal High Court, Abuja, on July 8, 2022 in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1113/2022 between Vigeo Power Limited v. Fidelity Bank Plc and others.
“It is on record that the total shareholding of the BPE and the Ministry of Finance in BEDC is just 40 per cent, making the two of them minority shareholders, which pales into insignificance in the face of the 60 per cent shareholding held by Vigeo Power Limited, our client,” the law firm explained in the statement.
The Federal government had announced the restructuring of five electricity distribution companies (DisCos) in the country.
The announcement was contained in a statement jointly signed by the Executive Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sanusi Garba, and the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Alex Okoh.
The affected DisCos are the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO), Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), Kaduna Electric, and Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED).
Garba and Okoh explained that the announcement followed Fidelity Bank’s activation of the call on the collaterised shares of KEDCO, BDEC, and Kaduna Electric over their inability to repay loans obtained to pay for assets acquired in the 2013 privatisation exercise.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.