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N4.8bn fraud: Ibeto begging for out-of-court settlement, says EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says the Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, Cletus Ibeto, charged with N4.8bn alleged fraud, has approached the commission seeking to settle the case out of court.

The EFCC charged Ibeto alongside his companies, Ibeto Energy Development Company and Odoh Holdings Ltd, with 10 counts, bordering on conspiracy, fraud, forgery and fraudulent use of documents.

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But Ibeto has failed to appear before the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja for his arraignment.

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Justice Ismail Ijelu, on November 3, 2023, ordered his arrest after he failed to appear before the court on four different occasions to take his plea, despite repeated hearing notices served on him.

However, the defendant approached the Appeal Court to seek the nullification of the arrest warrant issued against him by the court.

Meanwhile, at the last hearing of the appeal, Ibeto’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), leading two other Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Uche Obi (SAN) and Bode Olanipekun (SAN), informed the court that they were prepared to proceed with the hearing of the appeal.

But counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), instead informed the court that there were serious indications by the parties to have the matter settled amicably out of court and suggested that a chance be given to such initiative instead of proceeding with the hearing of the case.

“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 three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Muhammed Mustapha, adjourned the case till May 7, 2024, for the hearing of interlocutory applications and the main appeal.

Other panel members are Justice Folashade Ojo and Justice Abdullahi Bayero.

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