• Multi-billion naira land suit with Dozzy Oil & Gas Limited heats up

From Tony John, Port Harcourt

A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt and presided over by Justice Adolphus Enebeli, on Monday, put multibillionaire businessman Cletus Ibeto in the dock for further cross-examination by defence counsel, EC Ukala, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), in one of the suits between his companies and Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited.

Ibeto on the resumption of proceedings under cross-examination, the defence counsel, Ukala, asked to know the size of the property in dispute, the location, the original owners from where he derived his title.

He said that he needed to see the documents to know the particular land the defence counsel was referring to before he could answer the question.

At that moment, a ding-dong battle ensued between him and the defence counsel seeking to clarify the document.

It lingered till the presiding judge intervened, and informed him (Ibeto) that he would suffer no disadvantage to own up.

He was also unable to tell the court the size of the property in dispute but insisted that the subject matter was the land he purchased from the Bundu-Ama community.

Ibeto said: The land I purchased that brought us to court (subject matter) was bought from Bundu-Ama community and not Nigerian Ship Builders Limited. I am emphasizing that the land, which is the subject matter of this case was purchased from Bundu-Ama community

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“The land I purchased is from Bundu-Ama community. It was not purchased from Ship Builders Limited. But, I purchased some portions of land from Nigerian Ship Builders Limited.”

It was the presiding judge’s intervention that enabled him to accept that the document was in line with his instructions because he had earlier adopted them.

Ibeto in Suit No. PHC/268/FHR/2022 against Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited, in one of the suits, is trying to defend himself on allegations of the sale of property that allegedly did not belong to him and other allegations of fraud, breach of trust and forgery against him reported by Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited to EFCC.

In the suit, he had dragged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Dozzy Oil and Gas Ltd before a court seeking an order to stop the EFCC from arresting and or investigating him whatsoever, in the enforcement of his fundamental human right.

The criminal allegations against him and his companies bordered on obtaining N4.6 billion through false pretence from Dozzy Oil in the sale of a large expanse of land situate at Reclamation Phase 2 in Port Harcourt.

It was alleged that Dozzy Oil only found out that Ibeto’s title on the property was contrived, hence, the demand for the refund of about N4.6 billion being accumulated payment and cost of the transaction, which he (Ibeto) declined to refund. Dozzy then petitioned EFCC for recovery of his funds.

Dozzy Oil’s Executive Chairman, Daniel Chukwudozie, had alleged that he was approached by Ibeto (the applicant) to purchase a parcel of land situated at Reclamation Layout Phase 11 Port Harcourt, but only to discover that the property did not belong to Ibeto nor his companies.

The matter was later adjourned to February 7 and 8, 2023, for continuation of cross examination of Ibeto.