Nigerian Government has arraigned the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 Governorship election in Ogun State, Hon Ladi Adebutu, and nine others before the State High Court in Abeokuta for alleged vote buying.
Penpushing reports that Adebutu who jetted out of the country shortly after the election was on Monday charged in absentia alongside other accused which include Messers Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyu Waliu, Egunsola Owolabi, Sanni Adegoke, Hon. Dare Lukman Ogunleye, Dayo Fasina, Wasiu Enilolobo and Malik Badmus
The defendants are facing a four-count charge, which are 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.
Penpushing further reports that Adebutu did not honour earlier police invitation of allegations of electoral malpractices and money laundering, following police investigation which indicted him of the crime
The allegations it is recalled were raised in a petition by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state against Adebutu and his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Inspector General of Police on the day of the 18 March 2023 election.
Penpushing also reports that the Criminal Investigation Department of the police thereafter conducted an investigation after which the Director of Public Prosecutions at the Federal Ministry of Justice, filed the criminal charges against Adebutu and the other defendants.
The matter when called on Monday at the court, Adebutu remained at large while the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 10th defendants which include Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyi Waleed, Egunsola Owolabi, Sanni Adejoke and Malik respectively were present.
Penpushing reports that the accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the four counts while their counsel, Barrister Muyiwa Obanewa, subsequently urged the court to grant them bail, and the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, did not oppose the granting of bail to the defendants
The judge, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi had earlier adjourned the matter till 10 July owing to the inability of the court’s process servers to serve Adebutu and his co-defendants with the information sheet, however, in his ruling on Monday the judge subsequently admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N100, 000 and one surety each, and adjourned the case till 26 September, 2023 for definite hearing.
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