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Ogun’s PDP Gubernatorial Candidate, 9 Others Charged with Vote Buying

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ABEOKUTA, Nigeria – The Federal Government on Monday, July 10, 2023, arraigned the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate in the 2023 Ogun State gubernatorial election, Ladi Adebutu, and nine others for allegations of vote buying.

The arraignment occurred at an Ogun State High court, situated in Abeokuta.

Adebutu, who was charged in absentia, has been evading law enforcement, having fled the country months ago when allegations of electoral malpractice and money laundering were raised against him and his party by the Federal Government.

The All Progressives Congress, APC, lodged a petition against Adebutu through its Ogun State Chairman, Chief Yemi Sanusi.

The State Criminal Investigations Department in Abeokuta followed up on the accusations.

“After a thorough investigation, the Federal Government filed criminal charges against Adebutu and his co-defendants through the Director of Public Prosecutions, Federal Ministry of Justice,” stated an official document.

However, due to the inability of the court’s process servers to serve Adebutu and his co-defendants with the information sheet, the case was adjourned until July 10, 2023. Despite this, Adebutu remains elusive.

Five defendants, including Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyi Waleed, Egunsola Owolabi, Sanni Adejoke, and Malik, were present in court.

They all pled not guilty to the charges and their counsel, Muyiwa Obanewa, requested bail for the defendants.

Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, acknowledged that Adebutu was still at large but did not object to the bail request for the defendants present.

The court, presided over by Hon. Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, granted bail in the sum of N100,000, along with one surety each.

The case has been adjourned until September 26, 2023, for a definite hearing.

The charge sheet of the case, dated June 2, 2023, includes one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of bribery, and two counts of undue influence, all contrary to the Electoral Act, 2022.

Adebutu and the co-defendants are accused of corruptly offering gifts in the form of prepaid verve cards to induce voters during the gubernatorial and State Assembly elections in Ogun State.

Adebutu has been specifically accused of providing 200,000 prepaid verve cards, each loaded with N10,000, for the purpose of corruptly influencing voters.

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