Alleged N4.8bn fraud: Again, absence of bizman, Ibeto stalls trial

The arraignment of businessman, Chief Cletus Ibeto alongside his company, Ibeto Energy Development Company before a Lagos State High Court, Ikeja was, again , stalled due to the absence of the defendants in court

Chief Ibeto and his company are facing a 10-count charge of obtaining by false pretences, fraudulent conversion of property, criminal breach of trust, forgery and deception by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Apart from the duo, also included in the charge was another company linked to Ibeto, Odoh Holdings Ltd.

The charge against the defendants is currently pending before Justice Ismail Ijelu .

The court had at the last sitting adjourned to October 5, for arraignment due to the defendants’ absence.

At the resumed hearing on October 5, 2023, the defendants’ counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, informed the court that ill health of Ibeto was the reason for his absence.

He pleaded for another adjournment of the matter.

The prosecutor,  Rotimi Jacob, SAN, on the absence of the defendants in court, reminded the judge that the case was adjourned at the last proceeding due to the absence of defendants.

He however, agreed to the defence counsel’s plea for adjournment to enable Ibeto be present in court.

Ibeto’s counsel informed the court that the defendants had already approached the prosecution for out of court settlement and the process is on going.

After listening to parties,  Justice Ijebu frowned at the approach of the defendants.

The court noted that the court couldn’t assume jurisdiction on the case until the defendants submitted themselves for trial by appearing to take plea.

The judge reminded the defence counsel of Ibeto that the court had earlier adjourned the case thrice now at the instances of defendants.

The court added that if the defendants wanted to explore out of court settlement, they must first submitted themselves for trial.

The court further adjourned the case till November 3, for definite arraignment of Chief Ibeto and his companies.

Some of the charges against Chief Ibeto and his companies states that the defendants obtained N2.5billion from their victim as consideration for a non-existent 14.1 hectares of land while count three claims that they forged certain land title documents.


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