Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Ogun State candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2023 poll, Ladi Adebutu, and five others, have been arraigned for alleged vote buying.
The accused were arraigned before an Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta although the governorship candidate was arraigned in absentia.
Ikengaonline learned that the ruling All Progressives Congress, through its Ogun State Chairman, Yemi Sanusi, wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police over the allegation.
The allegation was reportedly investigated by the State Criminal Investigations Department in Abeokuta.
Four counts of charge were preferred against the accused.
The charge sheet of the case marked AB/10C/2003 read: “Adebutu, along with Messers Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyu Waliu, Egunsola Owolabi, Sanni Adegoke, Hon. Dare Lukman Ogunleye, Dayo Fasina, Wasiu Enilolobo and Malik Badmus, were being prosecuted on a four-count charge.
The counts 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.
The charge sheet revealed that “Adebutu and the co-accused on or about 18th of March at Ibara, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire among yourselves to corruptly give gifts in form of verve prepaid cards which had inscribed on them ‘Dame Caroline Oladuni Adebutu Memorial Endorsement Scheme for Less Privileged’ in order to induce voters to endeavour the return of PDP candidates during the gubernatorial and State Assembly elections in Ogun State.”
The PDP governorship was further accused of providing 200,000 prepaid verve cards loaded with N10,000 each and inscribed with the same name “for the purpose of corruptly influencing voters to vote for PDP candidates” during the said elections.
Adebutu was, however not present during the arraignment but his co accused five defendants; Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyi Waleed, Egunsola Owolabi, Sanni Adejoke and Malik were all present.
The other accused persons all pleaded not guilty to all the four counts of charge against them and their counsel Muyiwa Obanewa urged the court to grant bail to the defendants.
Justice Abiodun Akinyemi subsequently admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N100,000 and one surety each who shall be either bondsmen or relatives of the defendants with evidence of payment of tax.
The matter was adjourned till the 26th of September 2023 for a definite hearing.