Nigerian Billionaire Cletus Ibeto Faces Arrest Warrant in N4.8bn Fraud Case

Nigerian Billionaire Cletus Ibeto Faces Arrest Warrant in N4.8bn Fraud Case

  • A bench warrant has been authorised for Nigerian businessman Cletus Ibeto in N4.8bn Fraud Case
  • The billionaire entrepreneur is being charged over allegations related to fraud, forgery, bridge of trust, etc
  • Ibeto's lawyer claims his unavailability is a result of a challenging health issue

Legit.ng journalist Victor Enengedi has over a decade's experience covering Energy, MSMEs, Technology and the stock market.

On Friday, November 3, 2023, Justice I.O. Ijelu, presiding over the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, Lagos, issued a bench warrant for the apprehension of businessman Chief Cletus Ibeto.

This was disclosed in a statement posted on the official Twitter (now X) page of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Saturday, November 4, 2023.

Cletus Ibeto
Ibeto failed to make an appearance in court for his arraignment regarding an alleged N4.8 billion fraud case. Photo credit - EFCC, IBETO
Source: UGC

The defendant, along with Ibeto Energy Development Company and Odoh Holdings, is facing a 10-count indictment brought forth by the EFCC.

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The charges include false pretences, fraudulent conversion of property, criminal breach of trust, forgery, and deception.

Ibeto failed to appear in previous arraignments

On October 5, 2023, the judge scheduled the arraignment of Ibeto and co-defendants for November 3, 2023. This decision came after a request and subsequent appeal by Ibeto's lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN.

During the hearing, the defence counsel, while requesting the adjournment, informed the court that he did not possess a medical report in court to account for the defendant's absence.

He further argued that the matter in question could be resolved through discussions between the complainant and the defendants.

During the previous hearing, Justice Ijelu expressed concerns regarding the defence counsel's apparent attempts to mislead the court.

The judge emphasised that the defendant could not evade their court appearance and subsequently adjourned the case until November 3, 2023, for the arraignment of the defendants.

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Ibeto is absent again from court

During the proceedings on Friday, Ibeto was once again absent in the courtroom.

The EFCC's counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, informed the court that the purpose of the day's proceedings was the arraignment, noting the defendants' previous absences on September 28 and October 5, 2023.

The defence counsel, D.A. Awosika, SAN, apologised for his client's nonattendance, citing an underlying ailment and the defendant's advanced age with associated health concerns.

After considering the arguments presented, Justice Ijelu issued a concise ruling, emphasising that the defendant must enter his plea before further applications could be addressed.

EFCC applies for arrest warrant on Ibeto

Subsequently, Jacobs applied to the court to issue a bench warrant for the defendant's arrest.

However, the court determined that there was no substantial reason presented to explain the defendant's persistent absence.

The presiding judge subsequently rejected the defence's objection to the application for a bench warrant.

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The judge ruled in favour of the bench warrant application, and as a result, the case was further adjourned until November 15, 2023, for the arraignment.

EFCC arrests Buhari's ex-minister over alleged 22bn fraud

In a previous report, Legit.ng informed that Sale Mamman, the former Minister of Power, had been arrested and is facing allegations of involvement in a N22 billion fraud case.

Mamman, who served as a minister during President Muhammadu Buhari's administration from 2019 to 2021, was taken into custody on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, by the EFCC.

The charges against Mamman revolve around accusations of conspiring with personnel from the ministry responsible for overseeing the finances of the Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro Electric Power projects to misappropriate N22 billion and distribute the funds among themselves.

Investigations have led to the discovery of properties in Nigeria and abroad that are allegedly linked to the suspects, and substantial amounts of both naira and dollars have reportedly been recovered during the inquiry.

Source: Legit.ng

Authors:
Victor Enengedi avatar

Victor Enengedi (Business HOD) Victor Enengedi is a trained journalist with over a decade of experience in both print and online media platforms. He holds a degree in History and Diplomatic Studies from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State. An AFP-certified journalist, he functions as the Head of the Business Desk at Legit. He has also worked as Head of Editorial Operations at Nairametrics. He can be reached via victor.enengedi@corp.legit.ng and +2348063274521.

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