The Federal Government has charged the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State during the 2023 election, Oladipupo Adebutu, with money laundering and vote-buying.
The government also dragged Zenith Bank, its Managing Director, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, and the head of card services at the bank, Celestina Appeal, before the Federal High Court in Abeokuta for allegedly aiding Adebutu to commit the alleged offence.
The government, in the charge sheet marked AB/10c/2023, accused Adebutu of engaging in vote-buying during the March 18 governorship election in the state.
Adebutu, who was the PDP governorship candidate, contested against incumbent Governor Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress.
The office of the Attorney General of the Federation, which filed the charges, also listed nine other PDP members as Adebutu’s co-defendants.
They are Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyu Waliu, Egunsola Owolabi and Sanni Adejoke.
Others are Dare Ogunleye, Dare Adeoye, Dayo Fashina, Wasiu Enololobo, and Malik Akawo.
In the charge sheet, the FG said Adebutu was at large.
Adebutu, alleging a threat to his life, had shortly after the election reportedly travelled out of the country.
The governorship candidate and Adegoke were charged with three counts of criminal conspiracy, bribery and undue influence, while the eight others were charged with vote-buying and conspiracy.
The prosecution listed eight witnesses, who include a police officer, three officials of the NDLEA and two Points of Sale operators, against Adebutu and others.
One of the charges read: “That you Oladipupo Adebuti (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 in Abeokuta, the prosecution accused Zenith Bank, its Managing Director, Onyeagwu, and the head of card services at the bank, 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.” (Punch)