11.7 C
New York
Friday, April 19, 2024

Arraignment of Billionaire Cletus Ibeto Over N4.8 Billion Fraud Stalled

Must read

LAGOS, Nigeria – The scheduled arraignment of Cletus Ibeto, the chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, over alleged N4.8 billion fraud at a Lagos High Court in Ikeja, has encountered another delay.

The case, which has been postponed multiple times, was further stalled on Monday, Janauary 29, 2024, due to Justice Ismail Ijelu returning the case file to Chief Judge Justice Kazeem Alogba, amidst ongoing legal disputes.

At the latest hearing, Justice Ijelu indicated that the case could not proceed until the Chief Judge addresses various petitions filed by the defense. These petitions challenge the court’s jurisdiction and allege bias against Justice Ijelu.

Cletus Ibeto, the chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company
Cletus Ibeto, the chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has charged Chief Ibeto and his companies, including Odoh Holdings Limited, with a 10-count charge involving conspiracy, fraud, forgery, and fraudulent use of documents.

Notably, this arraignment has been delayed on four occasions in the past year – September 28, October 5, November 3, and December 6 – primarily due to Ibeto’s repeated absences, despite his legal representation being present.

This led to Justice Ijelu granting a request from the prosecution on November 3, 2023, for Ibeto’s arrest, citing his refusal to appear in court.

During the last adjourned date on December 6, 2023, Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), expressed his intention to potentially take over the case, following a petition by the defendant.

The State’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Jide Martins, echoed this intention, referencing a petition from the law firm of Robert Clarke (SAN) for a review and possible takeover of the case by the Attorney-General’s office.

However, this move faced opposition from EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), who saw it as an attempt to derail the trial.

Jacobs argued that the attorney-general’s letter was penned without considering the EFCC’s position and was aimed at protecting Ibeto from court proceedings.

He expressed confidence that the attorney-general would reconsider after fully understanding the case.

At the recent hearing, Justice Ijelu’s decision to adjourn the case indefinitely and return the file to the chief judge reflects the complexities arising from the multiple petitions.

Parties involved were advised to liaise with the administrative judge to determine the case’s future direction.

In a related development, on January 15, 2024, Mr. Jacobs informed the Court of Appeal about Ibeto’s approach to the EFCC for a plea bargain and his willingness to repay the allegedly fraudulently obtained funds.

In contrast, Ibeto’s counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), denied any knowledge of such discussions, reaffirming their commitment to challenging the arrest warrant issued against Ibeto.

More articles

- Advertisement -The Fast Track to Earning Income as a Publisher
- Advertisement -The Fast Track to Earning Income as a Publisher
- Advertisement -Top 20 Blogs Lifestyle

Latest article