FG files money laundering, bribery, criminal conspiracy charges against Adebutu, others

Following their alleged role in facilitating vote buying, the Federal Government has charged the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 18 governorship election in Ogun State, Hon. Ladi Adebutu, a leading Deposit Money Bank, Zenith Bank Plc and its Managing Director, Dr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, to court for alleged conspiracy, bribery and money laundering.

According to the charge sheet of the case with no AB/10C/2003 filed at the High Court of Ogun State, Abeokuta Division and dated June 2, 2023, Adebutu, along with Messers Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyu Waliu, Egunsola Owolabi, Sanni Adegoke, Hon Dare Lukman Ogunleye, Dayo Fasina, Wasiu Enilolobo and Malik Badmus, is being prosecuted by the Federal Government on a four-count charge, namely one count of 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.

The charges were filed by the Director, Public Prosecutions of the Federation, M.B Abubakar; the Assistant Chief State Counsel, Aderonke Imana and Senior State Counsel, Bagudu Sani, on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

On his part, Onyeagwu, along with one Celestina Appeal and Zenith Bank Plc, was charged with failing to report suspicious transactions on verve cards with the inscription Dame Oladunni Memorial Endorsement Scheme for Less Privileged between February and March 2023 and thereby committing an offence contrary to section 7(1) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022; and failing to verify the identity of customers carrying out electronic transactions on verve cards with the inscription Dame Oladunni Memorial Endorsement Scheme For Less privileged, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 37 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2022.

According to the particulars of the offence, Adebutu and the co-accused “on or about 18th of March at Ibara, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire among yourselves to corruptly give gifts in form of verve prepaid cards which had inscribed on them ‘Dame Caroline Oladuni Adebutu Memorial Endorsement Scheme for Less Privileged’ in order to induce voters to endeavour the return of PDP candidates during the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections in Ogun State.”

Adebutu was further accused of providing 200,000 prepaid verve cards loaded with N10,000 each and inscribed with the same name “for the purpose of corruptly influencing voters to vote for PDP candidates” during the said elections.

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