A counsel to one of the parties involved in a fundamental rights suit filed by chairman of Ibeto Group, Mr Cletus Ibeto against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited, Mr Okey Obikeze, has told a Rivers State High Court that the parties’ efforts to settle out of court failed woefully.
Obikeze is the counsel to Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited and Daniel Chukwudozie, in the suit, which Ibeto is seeking from the court to prevent the anti-graft agency from investigating allegations of fraud.
Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited had filed a petition to the EFCC accusing Ibeto of obtaining by false pretence the sum of N4.8 billion, alleging forgery and criminal breach of trust.
The matter filed by the applicant in Suit No. PHC/268/FHR/2022, also prayed the court to declare the alleged harassment on him unlawful, declaring that EFCC was not empowered to tackle contract matters.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, I. Mboho, who announced holding a brief for Onyechi Ikpeazu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), counsel for the applicant, told the court that negotiation for out-of-court-settlement was ongoing. Mboho urged the court for more time to conclude the settlement by parties in the matter.
But Obikeze counsel for the second respondent countered the applicant’s counsel’s position, and informed the court that the out-of-court-settlement could not be reached between the parties.
He stated that after the parties in the case had met and the attempt to settle was not fruitful, they (parties) agreed that the settlement had failed.
The second respondent’s counsel went further to say that the parties agreed that they should return and inform the court accordingly, so that a new date could be given for the matter to proceed.
The trial judge, Justice Boma Diepiri, after listening to the submissions of both counsels, agreed on a short date for the parties to return and brief the court on their final decision.
The matter was adjourned till July 11, 2022, for a report of settlement.