A warrant of arrest has been issued by a State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, against a popular Nigerian businessman, Cletus Ibeto, over his failure to appear before the court for trial.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed a 10-count charge against Ibeto, Ibeto Energy Development Company and Odoh Holdings.
The charge borders on obtaining by false pretence, fraudulent conversion of property, criminal breach of trust, forgery and deception.
On October 5, the trial was adjourned till November 3 over the failure of the Chief Executive Officer of Ibeto Energy Development Company, to attend the court sitting.
During the proceedings on Friday, the Prosecution Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, told the court that the businessman was scheduled for arraignment.
Jacobs said the defendant had been absent at previous sittings on September 28, and October 5, 2023.
Responding, the Counsel to the defendant, Dada Awosika, apologised for the absence of his client, adding that the businessman is battling an underlying ailment.
Awosika urged the court to allow the defence team to move an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court on the matter.
Displeased with the proposed application, Jacobs said the court should not take any application until the court assumes jurisdiction first and sees that the arraignment takes place.
Jacobs asked the court to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the businessman.
But Awosika disagreed, saying the defendant is old and that there is no basis for the bench warrant.
The trial judge, I.O. Ijelu, ruled that there was no cogent reason before the court for the continuous absence of the defendant.
He, therefore, adjourned the case till November 25.