The Federal Government has sued Chief Oladipupo Adebutu for alleged money laundering and vote-buying.
Adebutu, the Ogun State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 elections, was dragged before the Federal High Court, Abeokuta.
Also joined in the suit by the Federal Government are Zenith Bank, its Managing Director, Ebenezer Onyeagwu and Head of Card Services, Celestina Appeal.
The bank and its two top officials were accused by the government to have allegedly aided Adebutu to commit the offence.
Chairman of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Sanusi, had petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, accusing Adebutu and Zenith Bank of alleged vote-buying.
The Ogun APC chairman stated in the petition to the IGP, last March, accused the PDP governorship candidate of distributing ATM cards preloaded with N10,000 each to buy votes at the polling booths on the day of the election.
He further stated in the petition that the ATM cards were properties of Zenith Bank.
The Federal Government, in the charge sheet marked AB/10c/2023, accused Adebutu of engaging in vote-buying during the 18 March governorship election in the state.
The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, which filed the charges, also joined nine other PDP members as co-defendants in the suit.
They included Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyu Waliu, Egunsola Owolabi, Sanni Adejoke, Dare Ogunleye, Dare Adeoye, Dayo Fashina, Wasiu Enololobo and Malik Akawo.
While the government stated in the charge sheet that Adebutu was at large, the PDP governorship candidate reportedly traveled out of the country shortly after the election, alleging threats to his life.
Adebutu and Adegoke were charged with a three-count charge of criminal conspiracy, bribery and undue influence, while the eight others were charged with vote-buying and conspiracy.
The prosecution listed eight, including a police officer, three officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and two Points of Sale (PoS) operators, as witness against Adebutu and others.
One of the charges read: “That you Oladipupo Adebutu (now at large), adult male of Kessington House, Iperu, Ogun State between February and March, 2023 at Ogun State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did provide 200,000 prepaid Verve Cards loaded with N10,000, which had inscribed on them ‘Dame Caroline Oladuni Adebutu Memorial Endorsement Scheme For Less Privileged’ for the purpose of corruptly influencing votes to vote for PDP candidates (including yourself) during the governorship and state Assembly elections in Ogun State and you thereby committed an offence.”
In another suit filed before the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, the prosecution accused Zenith Bank, its Managing Director, Onyeagwu, and the Head of Card Services at the bank, Celestina Appeal, of aiding Adebutu to commit the alleged crime.
The government alleged: “That you (Mr Onyeagwu and Ms Appeal) between February 2023 to March 2023 in Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did fail to report dust transactions which appeared to have no economic justification or lawful objective, in the account of Oladipupo Adebutu domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc.
“You thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 7(1)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022 and punishable under Section 7 (10) of the same Act.”
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