Cletus Ibeto begs for out-of-court settlement with EFCC in N4.8bn fraud case

Cletus Ibeto begs for out-of-court settlement with EFCC in N4.8bn fraud case

The Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, Cletus Ibeto, who is facing charges of alleged N4,800,000,000 fraud, has approached the Economic and

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The Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, Cletus Ibeto, who is facing charges of alleged N4,800,000,000 fraud, has approached the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) expressing his intention to settle the case outside of court.

The EFCC had charged Ibeto, along with his companies Ibeto Energy Development Company and Odoh Holdings Ltd, with 10 counts related to conspiracy, fraud, forgery, and fraudulent use of documents.

Despite the charges, Ibeto failed to appear before the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja for arraignment meanwhile, Justice Ismail Ijelu had ordered his arrest on November 3, 2023, after repeated non-appearances.

In response, Ibeto appealed to the Court of Appeal, seeking the nullification of the arrest warrant.

During the appeal hearing, Ibeto’s legal team, led by Senior Advocate of Nigeria Wole Olanipekun, expressed readiness to proceed.

However, the EFCC, represented by Senior Advocate of Nigeria Rotimi Jacobs, informed the court about ongoing discussions for an amicable out-of-court settlement.

According to Jacobs, Ibeto approached the EFCC, expressing a willingness to enter a plea bargain arrangement and repay the alleged sum to the complainant, Daniel Chukwudozie.

In light of these developments, the Court of Appeal, headed by Justice Muhammed Mustapha, adjourned the case until May 7, for the hearing of interlocutory applications and the main appeal.

It may be recalled that the Lagos High Court had initially ordered Ibeto’s arrest for failing to address the charges.

Ibeto’s defense had challenged the court’s jurisdiction, arguing constitutional and territorial issues, and called for the dismissal of the case, on the other hand, the agency contended that the defendant’s appearance and plea were essential for the court’s jurisdiction in a criminal trial.