Monday, May 20, 2024

Appeal Court suspends hearing on bench warrant orders against Ibeto


The Lagos Division of the Courtroom of Attraction has adjourned until September 19, the listening to of the enchantment filed by the Chairman of Ibeto Power Growth Firm, Cletus Ibeto, difficult the jurisdiction of Lagos State Excessive Courtroom in Ikeja to attempt him over an alleged N4.8 billion fraud.

The appellate court docket presided over by Justice Muhammed Mustapha adjourned the enchantment to await the report of ongoing negotiations between the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC) and the defendant.

Justice Ismail Ijelu had ordered the businessman’s arrest after he failed to seem earlier than the court docket on many events to take his plea over the alleged fraud case regardless of repeated listening to notices served on him.

The anti-graft company had charged the defendant alongside his corporations, Ibeto Power Growth Firm and Odoh Holdings Ltd, on a 10-count cost of conspiracy, fraud, forgery and fraudulent use of paperwork.

Nevertheless, dissatisfied with the order and the refusal of the court docket to listen to his preliminary objection, the defendant filed an enchantment earlier than the Attraction Courtroom, formulating seven grounds for enchantment.

Additionally, throughout Tuesday’s continuing, Justice Mustapha and different panel members, Abdullahi Mahmud Bayero and Paul Bassi, suspended the enforcement of the bench warrant issued on November 3, 2023, in opposition to Ibeto by Justice Ismail Ijelu.

The justices suspended the warrant after Ibeto’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun and the EFCC’s counsel, Adebisi Adeniyi, knowledgeable the court docket that the events are within the technique of settling the matter and that the appellant has refunded about N1.7 billion to the Fee.

When the case was referred to as, Adeniyi knowledgeable the court docket that the appellant had been making fee consistent with the settlement proposal, so the EFCC felt that going forward with the enchantment won’t be acceptable.

He additionally instructed the court docket that the matter had began de novo earlier than one other decrease court docket choose and the EFCC felt that the enchantment had develop into educational and as such, the anti-graft company had filed an affidavit displaying the settlement and all that has transpired within the case to this point.

Responding, Chief Olanipekun confirmed that the events are settling the matter consistent with a Rivers State Excessive Courtroom judgment.

He, nonetheless, urged the court docket to put aside the bench warrant in opposition to his consumer.

In a brief ruling, Justice Mustapha suspended the enforcement of the order because the warrant of arrest can not proceed to hold over the defendant’s head since he has began settling the matter out of court docket.

He, subsequently, held, “The bench warrant is now suspended and we encourage events to proceed with the negotiations till the subsequent adjourned date of September 16.”

The appellant, via his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun, argued that his enchantment raised the difficulty of constitutional territorial jurisdiction and that it’s of such a threshold nature that it calls for to be heard and decided earlier than his consumer might be prosecuted.

He additionally contended that his consumer’s presence in court docket and his arraignment aren’t necessary or preconditions for the listening to of a preliminary objection concerning the court docket’s jurisdiction, which was already ripe for adjudication.

The appellant, subsequently, requested the Courtroom Attraction to put aside or vacate the warrant of arrest and in addition strike out the swimsuit earlier than the decrease court docket.

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