‘N4.8bn Fraud’: EFCC’s Absence Stalls Hearing, Case Reassigned To New Judge

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The absence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has stalled the trial of Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, Chief Cletus Ibeto, and two others over alleged N4.8 billion fraud.
This is just as the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba, reassigned the case to Justice Oyindamola Ogala of the state high court.
Justice Alogba reassigned the defendants’ case file following the petition against Justice Ismail Ijelu who earlier presided over the case.
However, when the case resumed on Friday before the new trial judge, Justice Ogala, neither the prosecution (the EFCC) nor the defendants were present in court.
When the court’s registrar called the case, Adedayo Oshodi announced an appearance for all the defendants, and Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Dr. Babajide Martins appeared as an interested party in the matter.
Dr. Martins said his appearance in the matter as interested party was based on Section 211 of the 1999 Constitution and the petition written by the defendants asking the state’s Attorney General to take over the case.
The trial judge after hearing from the defendants’ counsel and DPP, Dr. Martins said that she could not proceed with the proceedings due to the absence of the prosecution, EFCC.
Justice Ogala told the parties present that the case would be adjourned and hearing notice would be served on the prosecution to appear on the next adjourn date.
Subsequently, the trial was adjourned till March 11, 2024 for further hearing.
EFCC had charged the defendants on a 10-count charge bordering on allegations of conspiracy, fraud, forgery and fraudulent use of documents.
Other defendants apart from Chief Ibeto are Ibeto Energy Development Company and Odoh Holdings Ltd.



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