As Ibeto contests jurisdiction, the court adjourns to May 27, following allegations of an N4.8 billion scam

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The trial of Chief Cletus Ibeto, Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, who is facing charges from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for an alleged N4.8 billion fraud, has been postponed to May 27, 2024, according to Justice Oyindamola Ogala of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja.

Following the defendant’s attorney Adedayo Oshodi’s request to file an application contesting the court’s authority to hear the charge, the judge set a date for a further hearing.

As a result of the defendant’s earlier appeal to the Court of Appeal over the same matter, which is still pending a decision, prosecution attorney Rotimi Jacob argued against the application.

Furthermore, Jacob maintained that the defendant has not submitted to trial, hence the court cannot consider the application.

Nevertheless, Oshodi contended that, given the ongoing application, the Defendants’ presence is superfluous.

Following a thorough hearing of the arguments presented by either side, Justice Ogala, the trial judge, determined that the defendant’s application would be moot since the matter is already before the appeal court.

The judge reasoned that the court would be better off waiting for the Court of Appeal’s decision before moving further with the case.

Ten counts bordering on conspiracy, fraud, forgery, and fraudulent use of documents were brought against the defendants by the EFCC in court.

But Ibeto has still not taken his plea since he contested the court’s authority to hear the case.

You may remember that a judgement on the same matter was handed down by the state high court in Port Harcout, Rivers State. The State High Court recognised Ibeto Energy Development Ltd as the property’s legitimate owner in a ruling handed out on March 29, 2023.

Additionally, the court ruled that Chief Ibeto should reimburse Sir Chukwudozie Daniel of Dozzy Oil for the unpaid portion of the land dispute.

Sir Daniel Chukwudozie and his firms took their grievances with the ruling to the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal. A botched civil land transaction was petitioned to be turned into a criminal matter by Sir Daniel Chukwudozie with the EFCC in Lagos while the case was waiting.

A matter that has already been scheduled for hearing in Port Harcourt’s appeal court. Because of this, Chief Dr. Cletus Ibeto was the subject of a charge filed against him by the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Charge No. ID/2149/23.

This is the crux of Chief Cletus Ibeto’s jurisdictional objection that is currently sitting in the Lagos high court about the criminal accusation.

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