The Chairman and CEO of Ibeto Energy Development Company, Cletus Ibeto, is scheduled to appear before the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) pursues allegations of a N4.8 billion fraud.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The trial date has been set by Justice Ismail Ijelu following Cletus Ibeto’s failure to appear before the court on October 5, 2023. The EFCC has brought a 10-count charge against the defendant, along with his companies, Ibeto Energy Development Company and Odoh Holdings Ltd, accusing them of conspiracy, fraud, forgery, and fraudulent use of documents.
During the last court hearing, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), the defense lawyer, informed the court that his client’s absence was due to health issues and not a lack of regard for the court. He also mentioned that the defendants were in negotiations for an out-of-court settlement with the prosecution.
Rotimi Jacobs, the EFCC prosecutor, agreed to explore out-of-court settlements if the defendants were genuinely committed to the process. However, Justice Ijelu expressed his dissatisfaction with the defendants’ behavior and stressed that the court could not assume jurisdiction until they appeared for their arraignment.
The judge further emphasized that if the defendants wanted to pursue an out-of-court settlement, they must first submit themselves for trial. As of now, plea bargain talks have not been successful, and the proceedings will continue in court, starting with the arraignment of the defendants.
The charges against the defendants include obtaining N4.8 billion by false pretense, obtaining N2.5 billion for a non-existent land, and forging certain documents. These offenses are in violation of the Advance Fee Fraud Act 2006 and sections of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015, carrying a potential punishment of 7 to 20 years imprisonment without the option of a fine.