Alleged N4.8bn fraud: Court fixes April 15 for further hearing in Ibeto’s case

Chief Cletus Ibeto
Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, Chief Cletus Ibeto


An Ikeja High Court has adjourned until April 15 to hear applications of counsel involved in the case of a businessman, Chief Cletus Ibeto, accused of N4.8 billion fraud.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that when the case was called on Monday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Dr Babajide Martins, announced his appearance on behalf of the Lagos State Attorney-General.

Justice Oyindamola Ogala adjourned the case until April 15 to enable her go through the case file of various applications submitted by all parties to understand the case.

Ogala also ordered that parties should file and exchange responses before the next date of adjournment.

“I want to read the case file and understand it in full.
“Also, on the issue of representation by the DPP, the court wants the prosecution to respond to the application.
“The case is hereby adjourned until April 15 for hearing and further proceedings,” she said.

Earlier, the Defence Counsel, Mr Ade Oshodi, had informed the court of a notice of preliminary objection dated Jan. 26 which had not been heard by the court

Oshodi also told the court that the application which was filed by the former lawyer of the defendant, Mr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), be withdrawn as he had taken over the case and had filed a new application dated Jan. 26.

He also said that Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) was the one who appealed on the bench warrant issued against the defendant by Justice Ismail Ijelu on Nov.3, 2023.

“Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) appealed on the bench warrant.

“We are not in the matter going on at the Appeal Court.

“The learned silk is the one handling the appeal.

“We also wrote a petition to the office of the Attorney-General of Lagos State (A-G) concerning this case,” he said.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), had informed the court that he was not served the hearing notice that the matter had been taken to another court.

Jacobs added that it was not a deliberate attempt not to appear before the court.
The court, however, said that there were affidavits of proof of service on EFCC office and office of the prosecutor.
Jacobs told the court that several lawyers who had represented the defendant raised issue of territorial jurisdiction.

“We were at the Court of Appeal on Jan. 15 on the territorial jurisdiction.

“As at last week, the defendant has paid N1.5 billion to EFCC and he promised to conclude the payment in the next three months.

“The state said they are taking over the case but they have not even in heard from us,” he said.

Martins in his response said that from the point of law, the DPP acted on the directive of the A-G and that the prosecution had been served with the amicus brief filed by the office.

The amicus brief filed by the office of the A-G dated and filed on Feb. 29 was to the effect that the court should strike out the matter for lacking both territorial and actual jurisdiction.

“The DPP does not need permission to swing into action.

“My lord, this is everyday occurrence as people write to the office of the A-G to take up matters and it does not mean that the A-G is taking sides with anyone.

“I am speaking from the point of law,” he said.

EFCC had filed a 10-count charge against Ibeto, alongside his company, Ibeto Energy Development Company, before Justice Ismail Ijelu.

The case file was, therefore, re-assigned before Ogala.

The anti-graft commission said the alleged offences contravened the provision of Section 1 of the Advance Fee Fraud Act 2006 and Section 365(3d) and (e), 366 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015. (NAN)


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