By Aishat Momoh

In order to consider the applications of attorneys involved in the case of Chief Cletus Ibeto, a businessman accused of N4.8 billion in fraud, an Ikeja High Court adjourned its decision till April 15.

On Monday, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Dr. Babajide Martins, announced his appearance on behalf of the Lagos State Attorney-General, party, intending to take over the case when the case was called, .

However, Justice Oyindamola Ogala adjourned till April 15 in order to carefully review the case file and the numerous applications that each party had filed in order to comprehend and remain up to date on the proceedings.

Additionally, Ogala mandated that before the next adjournment date, the parties file and exchange answers.

She said, "I want to read the case file  and understand it in full.

"As agreed by all, I want all of us to respond and to be on the same lane.

"Also on the issue of representation by the DPP, the court wants  the prosecution  to respond to the application.

"The case is hereby  adjourned until  April  15 for hearing and further proceedings."

Meanwhile, the court has not yet addressed a notice of preliminary objection filed January 26, as disclosed by Defense Counsel Mr. Ade Oshodi.

Oshodi also told the court that the application, which was submitted by the defendant's previous attorney, Mr. Ikpeazu (SAN), should be withdrawn because he had taken over the case and submitted a fresh application on January 26.

Additionally, he stated that Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) was the one who filed an appeal against the bench warrant that Justice Ismail Ijelu had issued on November 3, 2023, against the defendant.

According to him, "Chief  Wole Olanipekun (SAN) appealed on the bench warrant.

"We are not in the matter going on at the appeal court.

"The learned silk is the one handling the appeal.

"We also wrote a petition to the office of the Attorney-General of Lagos State concerning this case."

Mr. Rotimi Jacob (SAN), the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), told the court that he was not given notice of the hearing or that the case had been transferred to a different court, and that his failure to show up for the hearing was not a conscious effort.

Nonetheless, the court stated that affidavits of proof of service had been served to the prosecution.

Jacob informed the court that a number of the defendant's attorneys had brought up the question of territorial jurisdiction.

"We  were at the court of appeal on Jan. 15 on the territorial jurisdiction.

"As at last  week, the defendant has paid  1.5 billion  to EFCC  and he promised to conclude  the payment  in the next three months.

"The state  said  they are taking over the case  but they  have not  even  heard from  us," he said.

While responding, Martins stated that from the point of law, DPP acted on the directive of the A-G and that the prosecution has been served with the Amicus Brief filed by the office.

The Amicus Brief filed by the office of the AG dated and filed on the 29th of February, 2024 made was  is to the effect that the Court should strike out the matter for lacking both territorial and actual jurisdiction.

"The  DPP does not need permission to swing into action.

"My lord, this is everyday occurrence  as people write  to the office of the A-G to take up  matters and it does not mean that the A-G  is taking sides with anyone.

"I am speaking from the point of law," he said.

EFCC had filed a 10-count charge against Ibeto, alongside his company, Ibeto Energy Development Company, before Justice Ismail Ijelu.

The case file was, therefore, re-assigned before Ogala.

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