The Head of Card Services of the Zenith Bank, Mrs Celestina Appeal on Monday presented 200,000 preloaded Automated Machine(ATM) cards as evidence against the Governorship Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party ((PDP) Hon Ladi Adebutu allegedly used at the Governorship election in Ogun State
Penpushing reports that the bank official
appeared before the Governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital in relation to allegation of vote buying through preloaded Automated Teller Machine( ATM)cards levelled against Adebutu.
The counsel to Governor Dapo Abiodun, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, had earlier informed the panel that two letters were submitted to Zenith Bank in February, seeking clarification on how Adebutu opened a special account for the purpose of his action with the bank as well as the request he made for the issuance of 200,000 preloaded Automated Teller Machine(ATM) cards containing N10,000 each, days before the March 18,2023 Governorship election.
Penpushing further reports that thev witness, who was subpoenaed by the tribunal started the presentation of her evidence by submitting the certified true copy of a letter written to Zenith Bank by Adebutu dated 27th February 2023, two days after the presidential election which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost, requesting to open an account for the production of 200,000 Automated Teller Machine, (ATM) verve cards containing N10,000 each and totalling N2 billion.
The witness in similar vein presented another certified true copy of a letter written by Adebutu and addressed to the bank dated the same 27th February 2023, requesting for the issuance of the 200,000 Automated Teller Machine(ATM ) verve cards,and equally tendered record of the delivery of and collection of the prepaid Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards to Adebutu, and the sample of the card, including the statement of account opened in the name of Oladipupo Adebutu, which indicates the inflow and outflow of the account from February to May 2023, and Certificate of Compliance.
Penpushing also reports that the second and third witnesses that appeared before the panel, Mr Odesanya Olalekan, an artisan from Ijebu North East and Adeosun Waheed, a businessman from Abeokuta North both confirmed the distribution of the preloaded Automated Teller Machine(ATM)cards by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members on the day of election.
The second witness produced the copy of the preloaded card, which was marked RA13, the third witness, Waheed, under cross-examination by counsels to the All Progressives Congress, (APC), Chief Afolabi Fashanu, and Otunba Kunle Kalejaiye, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), respectively, confirmed that the preloaded Automated Teller Machine (ATM)cards were distributed by Adebutu popularly known as Baba Ijebu, adding that the cards had the inscription of Mrs Caroline Adebutu, the mother of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate.
Penpushing reports that while being cross-examined further, the witness testified that members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) disrupted the voting process in the course of their resistance to the use of the BVAS in the conduct of the election.
The counsel to the petitioners, Gordy Uche, in his remarks expressed his decision to reserve his objection on the tendering of various documents and letters, including the collection and delivery of the cards to his final address and also objected to the tendering of the copy of the cards shared by the petitioner on the day of the election but postponed the details of his objection to the point of final address.
Penpushing further reports that counsel to the 2nd respondent (Governor Dapo Abiodun), Prof Taiwo Osipitan, then applied for adjournment and said that the next witness will need to come and demonstrate some documents, informing the court of closing his case on Tuesday.
The tribunal, in its ruling accepted the copy of the subpoena and marked it as exhibit RA5 as well as the letter tendered by the 1st witness, requesting for Automated Teller Machine(ATM) by Adebutu was admitted as exhibit RA6, while in the same vein, the letter of deposit of N2 billion was marked as exhibit RA7.
Penpushing also reports that the tribunal further submitted that since all the questions were direct and witnesses answered directly, therefore there was no need for re-examination, and thereafter adjourned the case till Tuesday for the continuation of the hearing.
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