• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Ibeto case file reassigned to new judge, as EFCC absence stall hearing

EFCC exposes fraudulent handling of Covid-19 funds, Abacha loot in Humanitarian Ministry

In a twist of events at the Lagos State High Court, on Friday, the Chief Judge (CJ) of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba, reassigned the charge against the Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, Cletus Ibeto, and two others over an alleged N4.8 billion fraud to Justice Oyindamola Ogala.

This decision came following a petition against Justice Ismail Ijelu, the previous presiding judge, lodged by Ibeto and others.

However, during the recent court session before the new trial judge, Justice Ogala, neither the prosecution, represented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), nor the defendants were present in court.

Adedayo Oshodi, representing all the defendants, announced their appearance when the court’s registrar called the case. Additionally, Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Babajide Martins, declared his interest in the matter based on Section 211 of the 1999 Constitution and the defendants’ petition to the State’s Attorney General to take over the case.

Expressing her inability to proceed due to the absence of the prosecution, EFCC, Justice Ogala informed the present parties that the case would be adjourned. She stated that a hearing notice would be served on the EFCC for their appearance on the next adjourned date.

Consequently, the trial adjourned further hearings until March 11, 2024.

The EFCC had charged the defendants with a trumped-up 10-count charge, alleging conspiracy, fraud, forgery, and fraudulent use of documents. Other defendants named in the case, aside from Chief Ibeto, include Ibeto Energy Development Company and Odoh Holdings Ltd.