The federal government, on Monday, arraigned Ladi Adebutu, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Ogun in the 2023 elections, over alleged vote buying.
Adebutu was arraigned at the Ogun state high court alongside nine others.
Yemi Sanusi, chairperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun, had petitioned the inspector-general, raising vote buying allegations against Adebutu.
The state criminal investigations department (SCID) of the police in Abeokuta, investigated the matter.
Thereafter, the office of public prosecutions at the federal ministry of justice, filed criminal charges against Adebutu and his co-defendants at the high court.
In the suit marked AB/10C/2003, Adebutu and the other defendants are being prosecuted on a four-count charge — criminal conspiracy, bribery, and two counts of undue influence which violates sections 121 and 127 of the Electoral Act 2022.
“On or about 18th of March at Ibara, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire among yourselves to corruptly give gifts in the form of verve prepaid cards which had inscribed on them ‘Dame Caroline Oladuni Adebutu Memorial Endowment Scheme for Less Privileged’ to induce voters to endeavour the return of PDP candidates during the gubernatorial and state assembly elections in Ogun state,” the charge against Adebutu and the co-accused reads.
The charge added that the prepaid cards were loaded with N10,000 each.
When the matter was called for hearing on Monday, Adebutu was not available in court, but Abiodun Akinyemi, the judge, proceeded with the hearing.
The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 10th defendants — Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyi Waleed, Egunsola Owolabi, Sanni Adejoke and Malik were, however, present and pleaded not guilty to all four counts.
Muyiwa Obanewa, their counsel, subsequently asked the court to grant them bail.
Rotimi Jacobs, the prosecuting counsel, said Adebutu is at large, but did not oppose the bail plea of the defendants.
The defendants were admitted to bail in the sum of N100,000 and one surety each, who shall be either bondsmen or relatives with evidence of tax payment.
The judge adjourned the case till September 26 for hearing.