Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, Cletus Ibeto, Seeks Out-of-Court Settlement in N4.8 Billion Alleged Fraud Case

EFCC Reports: Ibeto Energy Development Company Chairman, Cletus Ibeto, Requests Out-of-Court Settlement for N4.8 Billion Alleged Fraud Charges

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has disclosed that Cletus Ibeto, Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, facing charges of N4.8 billion in alleged fraud, has approached the commission expressing his intention to settle the case out of court.

The EFCC had previously filed charges against Ibeto, as well as his companies, Ibeto Energy Development Company and Odoh Holdings Ltd, encompassing 10 counts related to conspiracy, fraud, forgery, and fraudulent use of documents.

Charges and Absence: Ibeto’s 10 Counts and Failure to Appear Before the Court

The charges brought against Ibeto and his companies involve allegations of conspiracy, fraud, forgery, and fraudulent use of documents.

However, despite the charges, Ibeto has yet to appear before the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja for his arraignment.

On November 3, 2023, Justice Ismail Ijelu issued an arrest order against Ibeto after he missed four court appearances to enter his plea, despite receiving multiple hearing notices.

Legal Maneuvers: Ibeto Appeals Arrest Warrant, Expresses Willingness to Settle

In response to the arrest order, Ibeto appealed to the Court of Appeal to nullify the warrant issued by Justice Ijelu.

During the latest appeal hearing, Ibeto’s legal team, led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), along with Senior Advocates of Nigeria Uche Obi (SAN) and Bode Olanipekun (SAN), signified readiness to proceed with the appeal hearing.

However, counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), informed the court of both parties’ serious indications to settle the matter amicably outside of court.

Plea Bargain Initiated: Ibeto Seeks to Enter Plea Bargain and Repay Alleged Funds

According to Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Ibeto has approached the EFCC seeking to enter a plea bargain arrangement.

Ibeto expressed his commitment to pay back the alleged funds amounting to N4.8 billion obtained from the nominal complainant, Daniel Chukwudozie.

Court Adjournment: Opportunity for Amicable Resolution

Given the plea bargain initiative, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) proposed to the court to allow the parties a chance to settle the matter outside of court, suggesting a more amicable resolution.

In response, the three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, chaired by Justice Muhammed Mustapha, adjourned the case until May 7, 2024.

The adjournment will facilitate the hearing of interlocutory applications and the main appeal. The other panel members include Justice Folashade Ojo and Justice Abdullahi Bayero.

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