Alleged N4.8bn fraud: Ibeto begging for out-of-court settlement – EFCC

Cletus Ibeto, the chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, has reportedly addressed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in an attempt to resolve the case outside of court.

Ibeto is accused of defrauding the company out of N4.8 billion.

Ibeto and his businesses, Ibeto Energy Development Company and Odoh Holdings Ltd., were charged by the EFCC on ten counts of conspiracy, fraud, forgery, and fraudulent use of documents.

Ibeto was scheduled to be arraigned in the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, but he has not shown up.

On November 3, 2023, Justice Ismail Ijelu issued an order for his arrest after he ignored four separate summonses to appear in court to enter a plea and despite having multiple hearing notifications delivered to him.

Nonetheless, the accused went to the Appeal Court to request that the court’s arrest warrant against him be revoked.

At the most recent hearing on the appeal, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Ibeto’s attorney, together with two other Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Uche Obi (SAN) and Bode Olanipekun (SAN), told the court they were ready to move forward with the appeal hearing.

Instead of continuing with the case hearing, however, EFCC attorney Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) told the court that there were significant signs from the parties to settle the dispute out of court and recommended that a chance be given to such an endeavor.

“Ibeto has approached the EFCC seeking to enter a plea bargain arrangement and has also stated that he would pay back the money he obtained from the nominal complainant, Daniel Chukwudozie,” Jacobs said.

Following the development, the Court of Appeal’s three-member panel, chaired by Justice Muhammed Mustapha, delayed the case to May 7, 2024, to hear interlocutory applications and the main appeal.

Justices Folashade Ojo and Abdullahi Bayero round out the panel.

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