Alleged N4.8bn Fraud: Again, Court Adjourns Ibeto’s Appeal, Announces New Date

  • Justice Muhammed Mustapha adjourned till September 16, 2024, the hearing of the appeal filed by billionaire businessman, Cletus Ibeto
  • The court of appeal sitting in Lagos gave the ruling after Ibeto’s and EFCC’s lawyers informed the court that the parties are in the process of settling the matter
  • The EFCC’s lawyer said Ibeto had been making payments in line with the settlement proposal agreed upon between the parties

TheTalk.NG journalist Adekunle Dada has over 5 years of experience covering metro and government policy

Lagos state – The court of appeal sitting in Lagos has adjourned the hearing of the appeal filed by the Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, Cletus Ibeto, over an alleged N4.8 billion fraud.

Justice Muhammed Mustapha adjourned till September 16, 2024, to await the report of settlement talks between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the appellant.

Court adjourns Ibeto’s appeal over alleged N4.8bn fraudCourt adjourns Ibeto’s appeal to Sept. 16
Photo credit: @/ifeanyiakorjuruSource: UGC

Justice Ismail Ijelu had ordered the arrest of the Nigerian billionaire businessman after he failed to appear in court on at least four occasions to take his plea despite repeated hearing notices served on him.

Ibeto filed an appeal before the Appeal Court against his arrest order, formulating seven grounds for appeal, Channels Television reports.

On Tuesday, May 7, Justice Mustapha sitting alongside other panel members, Justice Abdullahi Mahmud Bayero, and Justice Paul Bassi suspended the enforcement of the bench warrant issued on November 3, 2023, against the appellant by Justice Ijelu.

The justices suspended the warrant after Ibeto’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and the EFCC’s counsel, Adebisi Adeniyi, informed the court that the parties are in the process of settling the matter.

They disclosed that Ibeto has so far refunded about N1.7 billion to the Commission.

The EFCC’s lawyer said Ibeto had been making payments in line with the settlement proposal agreed upon between the parties.

Adeniyi said it might therefore not be appropriate to go ahead with the appeal as it had become an academic exercise.

Olanipekun confirmed that they’re resolving the issue according to a Rivers State High Court decision.

He appealed to the court to revoke the bench warrant against his client, as the Appeal Court has yet to take up the case.

In a short ruling, Justice Mustapha held that:

“The bench warrant is now suspended and we encourage parties to continue with the negotiations until the next adjourned date of September 16”.

Court discloses date to hear Ibeto’s application

TheTalk.NG earlier reported that Justice Oyindamola Ogala adjourned the case to May 27, 2024, over an application challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the charge.

The EFCC had charged Ibeto on a 10-count charge of conspiracy, fraud, forgery, and fraudulent use of documents.

Source: TheTalk.NG


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