Ogun PDP governorship candidate Adebutu, others arraigned for vote-buying
The Federal Government has arraigned, Ladi Adebutu, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Ogun State, for alleged vote-buying during the state governorship election.
Adebutu and nine others were arraigned before the State High Court in Abeokuta on alleged vote-buying charges.
The PDP candidate, who was charged in absentia, is currently out of the country for medical reasons.
However, his spokesperson, Afolabi Orekoya, claimed that Adebutu had not been served with the charges.
Chairman of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Yemi Sanusi, had filed a petition with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), alleging vote-buying against Adebutu.
The state Criminal Investigations Department in Eleweran, Abeokuta, conducted an investigation into the allegations.
Following the conclusion of the investigations, the Federal Government, through the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Federal Ministry of Justice, filed criminal charges against Adebutu and the co-defendants at the High Court in Abeokuta.
The case was then brought before Justice Abiodun Akinyemi in Court 4, but it was adjourned until Monday, July 10, due to the inability of the court’s process servers to serve Adebutu and his co-defendants with the information sheet.
While Adebutu was out of the country, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 10th Defendants, Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyi Waleed, Egunsola Owolabi, Sanni Adejoke, and Malik Badmus, respectively, were present.
The charge sheet, filed on Friday, June 2, 2023, and numbered AB/10C/2003, outlined the four counts against Adebutu and the co-accused.
The charges include criminal conspiracy contrary to Section 121 of the Electoral Act, 2022; bribery contrary to Section 121 of the Electoral Act, 2022; and two counts of undue influence contrary to Section 127 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
According to the charge sheet, Adebutu and the other defendants conspired to corruptly give gifts in the form of Verve prepaid cards inscribed with ‘Dame Caroline Oladuni Adebutu Memorial Endorsement Scheme for Less Privileged’.
The intention was to persuade voters to support PDP candidates in Ogun State’s gubernatorial and State Assembly elections, which allegedly took place on or about March 18 in Ibara, according to the charge sheet.
Adebutu is also accused of providing 200,000 prepaid Verve cards loaded with ₦10,000 each, all inscribed with the same name, in order to corruptly influence voters to vote for PDP candidates during the aforementioned elections.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to all four counts. Their counsel, Muyiwa Obanewa, subsequently urged the court to grant bail to the defendants, which the prosecutor, Rotimi Jacobs, did not object to.
Justice Akinyemi granted bail to the accused in the sum of ₦100,000 each, with one surety each who must be either bondsmen or relatives of the defendants and provide evidence of tax payment.
The court adjourned the case until Tuesday, September 26, 2023.
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