A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has ordered Ibeto Energy Development Limited to refund the sum of N3.29 billion to Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited.
The refund was said to be money paid to Ibeto Energy Development Limited in a failed land transaction.
Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited had petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission through its lawyers, alleging among others, a case of criminal breach of trust involving N4.8 billion on a land purchase deal against Cletus Ibeto and his group of companies.
The company had alleged that Ibeto, a close friend of its executive chairman, Daniel Chukwudozie, had offered to sell his company’s property situate at NITECO Shipyard Area, Reclamation II Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to Dozzy and had collected an advance deposit of ₦4.8bn from the company.
But in a suit registered marked PHC/158/CS/2022, Cletus Ibeto and his company claimed they owed no money to Dozzy Oil but admitted that what they had was a failed transaction.
Ibeto Energy Development Limited and Chief Cletus Ibeto were the claimants, while Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited, Sir Daniel Chukwudozie, as well as Sungreen Oil and Gas Limited, were the defendants.
In his judgement, the presiding Judge, Justice Adolphus Enebeli, said the matter was a failed transaction between the two parties, adding that the land area where Ibeto facilities were located belonged to Ibeto, while the area which Dozzy bought was different.
Justice Enebeli further considered some of the reliefs sought by both parties and asked that Ibeto Energy Development Limited who dragged Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited to court refund the money paid for the land under dispute.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the judgement, Henry Bello, counsel for the claimant who held brief for the lead counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, said his client (Ibeto) had always been ready to return the money paid by Dozzy in a manner it was paid.
Bello stated, “The court on Thursday has made it apparent that what happened between the parties was a commercial transaction that failed. The court has made a pronouncement for reparations concerning the failure of the transaction.
“The court has also made it clear that there was no wrongdoing on the part of our client, Ibeto.
“The amount paid for the transaction that failed, we have always said that we are ready to return the money the way it was paid and the court has agreed with us on the amount paid.”
Continuing, he said, “The court has pronounced our ownership of the area that belongs to us exclusively.
“Their original claim was N4.8 billion, made up of N3.295 billion and another nebulous $3 million. The court has held today that there was no payment of $3million made to Ibeto.
“The only one made to Ibeto was a cash swap of $3million dollars for naira equivalent. Ibeto did not borrow any money from Dozzy and is not owing anybody in Nigeria or any part of the world. His companies are not owing anybody or any bank.
“The court has pronounced that the land belonging to Ibeto, where Ibeto facilities are located, belongs to Ibeto. The area that Dozzy bought is different from this area.”
On his part, one of the counsels to the defendants, Okechukwu Umodu, said he would study the content of the judgement and advise his client on the line of action.
He said, “The court decided that the judgement partly favours both the defendant and the claimant. The land we have acquired is valid and subsisting.
“The over N3 billion awarded is also in our favour. The money that is being owed to us over a failed land transaction, so the court ordered that they refund us the money.”
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