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A'Court stalls Ibeto's jurisdiction bid in ₦4.8bn alleged fraud case

Only a decision made by the appellate court would determine the status of the case and its jurisdiction.

Federal High Court of Nigeria. [David Exodus/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

The adjournment, until May 27, 2024, was granted to allow time for the defendant's counsel, Adedayo Oshodi, to submit an application disputing the court's jurisdiction to handle the case.

The defence requested a pause in proceedings, but the prosecution objected, noting that the defendant had already appealed the matter to a higher court, which has yet to decide.

The prosecution also argued that the court shouldn't consider the request since the defendant hadn't shown up for trial.

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However, the defence argued that the defendant's presence wasn't necessary given the pending application.

Ultimately, the judge ruled against hearing the defendant's request, as it mirrored the issue already under review by the higher court.

The judge decided it would be prudent for the court to wait for the Court of Appeal's decision before proceeding with the case.

The EFCC accused the defendants of various offences but haven't entered a plea yet because they're contesting the court's jurisdiction.

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The recent legal saga involves a land ownership dispute in Rivers State, where the State High Court ruled in favor of Ibeto Energy Development Ltd on March 29, 2023, declaring them as the rightful owners.

The court also mandated Chief Ibeto to refund the incomplete payment made by Sir Chukwudozie Daniel of Dozzy Oil for the disputed land.

Sir Daniel Chukwudozie and his companies were dissatisfied with this decision, so they appealed to the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt.

However, amidst the appeal process, Sir Daniel filed a petition with the EFCC in Lagos, seeking to transform the civil land dispute into a criminal case already under appeal in Port Harcourt.

As a result, Chief Dr Cletus Ibeto now faces charges in Lagos under Charge No. ID/2149/23 between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and himself.

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This has prompted Chief Ibeto to file a jurisdictional objection before the High Court of Lagos regarding the criminal charge, which is currently pending.

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