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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Lagos, EFCC fight over N4.8 billion fraud case against Ibeto, trial stalled again

The planned arraignment of the Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, Chief Cletus Ibeto, over an alleged N4.8 billion fraud, once again failed to hold on Tuesday at the Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja due to a tussle between the Lagos State Government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to reports, the lawyers to Ibeto, led by Uche Obi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), told Justice Ismail Ijelu that an issue of legal representation had arisen following moves by the office of the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to take over the prosecution of the case.

The EFCC through its counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rotimi Jacobs, described the move as “an attempt to scuttle the trial, which has just been adjourned the fourth time with the defendant failing to show up in court.

Planned takeover of case by Lagos Government

Following the resumption of proceedings, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Dr Jide Martins, appeared in court on behalf of the state’s Attorney-general, Lawal Pedro (SAN).

Martins informed the court of a petition written by the law firm of another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Robert Clarke, seeking a review of the case file and the outright takeover of the case by the office of the Attorney-General.

The DPP further told the court that although the Ministry of Justice had written to the EFCC requesting the case file, the AG had yet to decide on the issue.

The defence council, Obi, then urged the court to adjourn the case until the issue of legal representation is resolved.


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