Alleged N4.8bn Fraud:  Court Adjourns Cletus lbeto’s Case to May 27

Funke Olaode

Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has adjourned the trial of Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, Chief Cletus Ibeto, who was charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N4.8 billion fraud, to May 27, 2024.

The trial Justice Oyindamola Ogala, adjourned further hearing in the suit to May 27, for the Court of Appeal to deliver judgement on appeal filed by defendant (Ibeto) on the ruling by Justice Ismail Ijelu of High Court, issued bench warrant against the defendant pending arraignment.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, Ibeto filed an appeal through Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, challenging the jurisdiction of the high court to hear the matter.

However, at the resumed proceeding, yesterday, the defendant’s counsel, Mr. Adebayo Oshodi, prayed the court to withdraw the application for stayed of proceeding pending appeal and the one challenging court jurisdiction which was earlier filed by Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN).

He also told court that he has filed notice of preliminary objection dated January 26, challenging the jurisdiction, and prayed the court to allow him to move the application.

The prosecution counsel, Mr.  Rotimi Jacob, SAN, opposed the application on the ground that the defendant had filed an appeal on same issue before the Lagos Division of Court of Appeal, adding that the appellate was yet to decide on it.

Jacob told the that it could not entertain the application because the defendant had not submitted himself for trial. He cited the provision of section 274 of Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) 2021.

The prosecutor also informed the court that the defendant in his move for out-of-court settlement, has repaid the commission a total sum of N 2 billion in  instalments.

After listening to the both parties, Justice Ogala ruled that hearing the defendant’s application would amount to nothing because the same issue was currently pending before the appellate court.

The judge held that it would be better for the court to await Court of Appeal’s verdict on the matter before taking any further step on on the trial.

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