Judge returns Ibeto’s case File to Chief Judge, stalls his alleged N4.8bn fraud trial

Judge returns Ibeto’s case File to Chief Judge, stalls his alleged N4.8bn fraud trial

Judge returns Ibeto’s case File to Chief Judge, stalls his alleged N4.8bn fraud trial

The ongoing trial of the Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, Chief Cletus Ibeto, over alleged N4.8 billion fraud before the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has been stalled.

According to reports, the trial got stalled because the trial Judge, justice Ismail Ijelu returned the case file to the Chief Judge of the court, Kazeem Alogba.

On Tuesday, Justice Ijelu told lawyers the case cannot proceed until the Chief Judge decides on the various petitions written by the defence challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case and accusing him of bias.

The anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had charged Ibeto before the court alongside his companies: Ibeto Energy Development Company and Odoh Holdings Ltd, on a 10-count charge bordering on allegations of conspiracy, fraud, forgery and fraudulent use of documents.

READ ALSO: Businessman, Ibeto, seeks out-of-court settlement in N4.8b fraud case

Meanwhile, scheduled arrangements of the defendant have been stalled four different times: September 28, October 5, November 3 and December 6, 2023, due to his failure to appear in court, although his lawyers represented him.

This had made Justice Ijelu accede to the prosecution’s request on November 3, 2023, to order Ibeto’s arrest for allegedly refusing to appear to take his plea despite many undertakings by his lawyers to produce him in court.

During the last proceeding on the matter on December 6, 2023, the Lagos State Attorney-General, Lawal Pedro, informed the court that he was considering taking over the matter based on a petition written by the defendant.

Also, the state’s director of public prosecutions (DPP), Jide Martins, who represented the Attorney-General in court, did inform the court of a petition written by the law firm of Robert Clarke (SAN), seeking a review of the case file and the outright taking over of the case by the office of the Attorney-General.

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