Court Fixes April 15, To Entertain All Applications Stalling Ibeto’s Arraignment

An Ikeja High Court has adjourned until April 15 to hear all applications involved in the case of a businessman, Chief Cletus Ibeto, charged with N4.8 billion fraud.

When the case was called, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Dr Babajide Martins, announced his appearance on behalf of the Lagos State Attorney-General, party, intending to take over the case.

Justice Oyindamola Ogala adjourned until April 15 for her to thoroughly go through the case file and various applications submitted by all parties to understand and stay abreast of the case.

Ogala also ordered that parties should file and exchange responses before the next date of adjournment.

She said: “ want to read the case file and understand it in full.

“As agreed by all, I want all of us to respond and to be on the same lane.

“Also on the issue of representation by the DPP, the court wants the prosecution to respond to the application.

“The case is hereby  adjourned until  April  15 for hearing and further proceedings.”

The Defence Counsel, Mr Ade Oshodi had informed the court of a notice of preliminary objection dated Jan. 26 which has not been heard by the court.

Oshodi also informed the court that the application which was filed by the former lawyer of the defendant, Mr Ikpeazu  (SAN), be withdrawn as he had taken over the case and had filed a new application dated Jan. 26.

He also said that Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN)  was the one who appealed the bench warrant issued against the defendant by  Justice Ismail Ijelu on Nov.3, 2023.

According to him: “Chief  Wole Olanipekun (SAN) appealed on the bench warrant.

“We are not in the matter going on at the appeal court.

“The learned silk is the one handling the appeal.

“We also wrote a petition to the office of the Attorney-General of Lagos State concerning this case.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacob (SAN) had informed the court that he was not served the hearing notice that the matter had been taken to another court and it was not a deliberate attempt not to appear before the court.

The court, however, said that there were affidavits of proof of service on the prosecution.

Jacob told the court that several lawyers who had represented the defendant raised the issue of territorial jurisdiction.

“We were at the court of appeal on Jan. 15 on the territorial jurisdiction.

“As of last week, the defendant has paid  1.5 billion to EFCC  and he promised to conclude the payment in the next three months.

“The state aid they are taking over the case but they have not even heard from us,” he said.

Martins in his response, said that from the point of law, DPP acted on the directive of the A-G and that the prosecution has been served with the Amicus Brief filed by the office.

The Amicus Brief filed by the office of the AG dated and filed on the 29th of February, 2024 was is to the effect that the Court should strike out the matter for lacking both territorial and actual jurisdiction.

“The  DPP does not need permission to swing into action.

“My lord, this is an everyday occurrence as people write to the office of the A-G to take up matters and it does not mean that the A-G  is taking sides with anyone.

“I am speaking from the point of law,” he said.

EFCC had filed a 10-count charge against Ibeto, alongside his company, Ibeto Energy Development Company, before Justice Ismail Ijelu.

The case file was, therefore, re-assigned before Ogala.

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