ABEOKUTA – The Federal Government, Monday, arraigned the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate in the 2023 governorship election in Ogun State, Ladi Adebutu and nine others before an Ogun State High court, sitting in Abeokuta the Ogun State capital.
Adebutu, who was charged in absentia for alleged vote buying, amongst others, has been outside the country, alleging that his life was under threat in the State.
When the matter came up on Monday, July 10, 2023, all other defendants Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyi Waleed, Egunsola Owolabi, Sanni Adejoke and Malik, pleaded not guilty to the four count charge.
According to the charge sheet of the case with no AB/10C/2003 filed at the high court and dated June 2, 2023, Adebutu, along others, were alleged for criminal conspiracy contrary to Section 121 of the Electoral Act, 2022, bribery contrary to Section 121 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
They were also accused of undue influence contrary to section 127 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
According to the particulars of the offence, 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.”
Counsel to the defendants, Muyiwa Obanewa subsequently urged the court to grant them bail.
The prosecuting counsel Rotimi Jacobs while noting that Ladi Adebutu is still on the run said he was not opposed to the granting of bail to the defendants.
Justice Abiodun Akinyemi subsequently admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N100,000 with one surety in the like sum.
The sureties, according to the Judge, shall be either bondsmen or relatives of the defendants with evidence of payment of tax.
The court adjourned the case till 26th of September 2023 for definite hearing.
The All progressives Congress (APC), through its Ogun State Chairman, Chief Yemi Sanusi, had written a petition to the Inspector General of Police alleging vote buying against Adebutu.
Upon conclusion of investigations, the Federal Government through the Director of Public Prosecutions, Federal Ministry of Justice filed criminal charges against Ladi and his co-defendants at the High Court sitting.