The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is poised to arraign Chief Cletus Ibeto, a prominent businessman, and his company, Ibeto Energy Development Company, on Thursday, October 5. This legal action follows a 10-count charge that alleges serious financial misconduct, including obtaining by false pretenses, fraudulent conversion of property, criminal breach of trust, forgery, and deception.
The arraignment will take place before Justice Ismail Ijelu at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja. Also implicated in the charges is another company associated with Ibeto, Odoh Holdings Ltd. These charges come as a significant development in the ongoing investigation by the EFCC.
A copy of the charge, which was signed by Gbolahan Latona, the Head of Legal Affairs at the EFCC, in April 2023 was quoted by Channels Tv.
Count 1 of the charge asserts that between June 2016 and May 2017, Chief Cletus Ibeto, Ibeto Energy Development Ltd, and Odoh Holdings Ltd, within the court’s jurisdiction, obtained a staggering N4.8 billion under false pretenses. They purportedly claimed this sum as consideration for 22.6536 hectares of land at Reclamation Road Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. However, it is alleged that they only had ownership of 7.9 hectares of the said land.
Count 2 alleges that the defendants received N2.5 billion from their victim under false pretenses, claiming it as consideration for a non-existent 14.1 hectares of land. Count 3 accuses them of forging certain documents.
In Count 3, it is alleged that on or about January 30, 2018, the defendants forged a Deed Of Sublease between Odoh Holdings Ltd and Ibeto Development Ltd. This deed was purportedly registered as No 47, Page 47, Vol. 280 of the Lands Registry, Rivers State. The forgery is believed to be part of their scheme to defraud.
These charges are in violation of Section 1 of the Advance Fee Fraud Act 2006, Section 365(3d) and (e), and Section 366 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015. If convicted, the accused could face a punishment ranging from no less than seven years to a maximum of 20 years imprisonment, without the option of a fine.
This high-profile case is expected to draw significant attention as it unfolds in court, with potential far-reaching implications for the individuals and companies involved.