IBETO Vs EFCC: Ibeto’s Fundamental Human Right Case Gets Court Date

By Sunny A Ijomah

A motion on notice in a basic human rights lawsuit brought by Cletus Ibeto, Chairman of Ibeto Cement, against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Daniel Chukwudozie has been set for March 8, 2022, at the Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt.

In Suit No. PHC/268/FHR/2022, Ibeto (applicant) sued the EFCC (first respondent) and Chukwudozie (second respondent) in a High Court presided over by Justice Boma G. Diepiri for the enforcement of his fundamental right to prevent the commission from investigating criminal allegations of fraud bordering on obtaining N4.8 billion by false pretense, forgery, and criminal breach of trust brought against him by Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited.

The second respondent in the case, Chukwudozie, claimed that he was solicited by the Ibeto (applicant) to buy a block of land in Reclamation Layout Phase 11 Port Harcourt, only to learn that the property in question did not belong to claimant and his firms.

The main application was set to be heard by the court.

However, when the case came up for hearing, counsel for the second respondent notified the court that the applicant had not served him.

Mr. Henry Bello, who carried brief for the lead counsel, Barrister Onyechi Ikpeazu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), informed the court that the second respondent was served at 10:31 a.m. on February 3, 2022.

He informed the court that a civil matter is currently proceeding before the High Court of Rivers State, with a hearing date set for March 14, 2019.

After hearing the arguments of the applicant’s and second defendant’s legal representatives on service, Justice Diepiri directed them to regularize their processes before the next postponed date (March 8).

Mr. Bello revealed outside the courtroom that the case was a civil property transaction in which the second respondent used the EFCC to frighten their client.

“So, we came to court to preserve the applicant’s fundamental human rights,” he explained. The EFCC has no place in this situation.

The statute that established the EFCC prohibits them (it) from engaging in civil business dealings.”