Bank official testifies against Adebutu on vote-buying at tribunal Presents evidence of 200,000 preloaded ATM cards - The People's Voice


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Bank official testifies against Adebutu on vote-buying at tribunal Presents evidence of 200,000 preloaded ATM cards

By Mercy James, Abeokuta

An official of Zenith Bank, Mrs. Celestina Appeal, who is the Head of Card Services, was subpoenaed and appeared as a witness, yesterday, before the governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.

This was in relation to the charge of vote buying through preloaded ATM cards levelled against Oladipupo Adebutu.

Counsel to Governor Dapo Abiodun, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, had earlier informed the panel that two letters were submitted to the 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 issuance of 200,000 preloaded ATM cards containing N10,000 each some days before the March 18 gubernatorial election.

The witness presented her evidence by submitting the certified true copy of a letter written to the bank by Adebutu dated February 27, 2023, two days after the presidential election, which the PDP lost, requesting to open an account for the production of 200,000 ATM verve cards containing N10,000 each and totalling N2billion.

She also presented another certified true copy of a letter written by Adebutu and addressed to the bank dated the same date requesting for the issuance of the 200, 000 ATM verve cards.

Besides, she tendered record of delivery and collection of the prepaid ATM cards to Adebutu, and the sample of the card, including statement of account opened in the name of Oladipupo Adebutu, which indicates inflow and outflow of the account from February to May 2023, and Certificate of Compliance.

The second and third witnesses that appeared before the tribunal, Odesanya Olalekan, an artisan from Ijebu North East and Adeosun Waheed, a business man from Abeokuta North, both confirmed the distribution of the preloaded ATM cards by PDP members on the day of election.

While the second witness produced the copy of the preloaded card, which was marked RA13, the third witness, Waheed, under cross-examination by counsel to All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Afolabi Fashanu (SAN) and Otunba Kunle Kalejaiye (SAN), confirmed that the preloaded ATM cards were distributed by Adebutu, adding that the cards had the inscription of Mrs. Caroline Adebutu, the mother of the PDP candidate.

While being cross-examined further, the witness testified that members of PDP disrupted the voting process in the course of their resistance to the use of the BVAS in the conduct of the election.

Meanwhile, counsel to the petitioners, Gordy Uche, expressed his decision to reserve his objection to the tendering of various documents and letters, including the collection and delivery of the cards, to his final address.

He also objected to the tendering of the copy of the cards shared by the petitioner on the day of election, but postponed the details of his objection to the point of final address.

Osipitan then applied for adjournment and said that the next witness would need to come and demonstrate some documents, informing the court of closing his case today.

The tribunal, in its ruling, accepted the copy of the subpoena and marked it as Exhibit RA5, while the letter tendered by the first witness, requesting for ATM by Adebutu, was admitted as Exhibit RA6.

In the same vein, a letter of deposit of N2 billion was marked as Exhibit RA7.

The tribunal further submitted that since all the questions were direct and witnesses answered directly, there was no need for re-examination. It thereafter adjourned till tomorrow for continuation of hearing.

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