A bench warrant is issued by Lagos Court for Ibeto’s arrest

A bench warrant has been issued by the Lagos State High Court, located in Ikeja, Lagos, for the arrest of businessman Cletus Ibeto, who neglected to show up for his arraignment for an alleged N4.8 billion fraud.

Justice I.O. Ijelu granted the warrant on Friday, according to a statement from Dele Oyewale, Head of Media and Publicity, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Following an application and appeal by his attorney, Onyechi Ikpeazu, the judge postponed Ibeto’s arraignment alongside Ibeto Energy Development Company and Odoh Holdings until November 3, 2023. The 10-count charges against Ibeto include obtaining by false pretenses, fraudulent conversion of property, criminal breach of trust, forgery, and deception.

In his request for an adjournment, Mr. Ikpeazu stated to the court, “The law is not a respecter of any person.” I really believe that, given enough time, this is a problem that can be solved.

The defense attorney further informed the court that he did not have a medical report to support the defendant’s absence from the proceedings and that the matter in question was one that the complainant and the defendants could settle.

While plea bargaining is recommended in criminal cases as well, prosecution attorney Rotimi Jacobs responded by saying that although the EFCC had given them the chance to settle their issues, they had not taken advantage of it—not even before charges were filed.

He declared, “Before the court will assume jurisdiction to do anything, there should be an arraignment.”

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