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From Obasanjo to Buhari, Ibeto Cement Owner’s Struggles Continue as Olukayode Led EFCC Pushes for Arrest

The Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, Cletus Ibeto, faces challenges as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) urges the Court of Appeal to uphold a bench warrant issued by a Lagos State High Court. Despite filing a preliminary objection challenging the court’s jurisdiction, the EFCC argues that the lower court has the authority to order Ibeto’s arrest.

Justice Ismail Ijelu of the Lagos High Court had issued the arrest warrant on November 3, 2023, after Ibeto failed to appear in court for his alleged involvement in a N4.8 billion fraud case. Ibeto, along with his companies, faces charges of conspiracy, fraud, forgery, and fraudulent use of documents.

Ibeto’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun, contends that the preliminary objection, addressing constitutional territorial issues, should be heard before arraignment. However, the EFCC insists that the defendant’s appearance in court is necessary for jurisdiction to be established.

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rotimi Jacobs, representing the EFCC, emphasizes that the court’s patience was tested as Ibeto deliberately avoided appearances, causing delays in proceedings. Jacobs also reveals Ibeto’s attempt to negotiate a plea bargain with the anti-graft agency.

Chief Wole Olanipekun denies knowledge of the plea bargain discussions and informs the appellate court that Ibeto has instructed him to continue with the appeal. The court schedules May 7 for the lawyers to present their arguments, unveiling a legal battle intertwined with allegations of conspiracy against Ibeto Cement in the eastern region, positioning it as a competitor to Dangote Cement.

IMAGE: The guardian

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