Justice A. Akinyemi has cleared Adebutu Oladipupo over allegations of vote buying, warned the media and sponsors of such fake reports to desist from misleading the public
The Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta on Friday 8th September 2023 had clarified that the Peoples Democratic Party Governorship Candidate in Ogun State, Hon (Dr). Oladipupo Adebutu was not charged with any matter related to money laundering and vote buying.
The High Court Judge, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi made the clarification after the Counsel to the five defendants on a matter filed by the Federal Government on vote buying, Chief Gordy Uche, SAN called the attention of the Court to a sponsored fake report published in the media on Thursday, 7th December 2023.
The Counsel, Chief Gordy Uche, SAN, told the Court that the report wrongly mentioned Adebutu who had not been invited for questioning nor served with any notice to have been charged with Money Laundering which was not in any matter before the honourable Court; he said further that some elements just sat somewhere to concoct fake reports.
He mentioned that the fake report saying INEC which is not a party in the matter presented two witnesses and that a motorcycle was tendered before the Court was laughable and a total misrepresentation of Court proceedings.
Reacting, Justice A. Akinyemi warned the media and sponsors of such fake reports to desist from misleading the public as such will bring the media to disrepute.
In his words “Members of the Press if you are here, I plead with you to always report the correct court proceedings, get the correct charge and I permit you to ask the Court registrar for the proceedings to confirm your information.”
Justice Akinyemi said further that “the Press should always be fair and truthful; when you publish wrong information, you bring your image to disrepute, I am appealing to you”.
The matter filed by the Federal Government of Nigeria is a charge of Vote buying against Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyu Waliu, Egunsola Owolabi, Moliki Badmus and Sanni Adejoke.
It was gathered that Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyu Waliu, Egunsola Owolabi and Moliki Badmus were arrested by the operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in front of their office at Ibara Housing Estate in Abeokuta early morning on 18th March 2023, the day of the Governorship and House of Assembly’s elections.
Upon the arrest, 52 ATM cards were found on them which led to further interrogation. Upon interrogation, the suspects mentioned the names of four people regarded as their leaders who gave them the cards for an empowerment scheme. After interrogation by the NDLEA, they were transferred to the State Police headquarters on same day.
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In like manner, Sanni Adejoke was arrested by the Police on a motorcycle early in the morning of 18th March at Agbado in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State with the same ATM cards found on her and was equally transferred to State Police headquarters in Abeokuta the same day.
Following the findings by the Police which revealed that the suspects were members of the Peoples Democratic Party, the Gubernatorial Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party was thereafter listed for invitation by the Police on the matter.
You will recall that an interim Police report emerged sometime in May on the allegation of vote buying and later an updated Police report was also released to the media.
Upon completion of the investigation by the Police, the five suspects that were arrested were charged to court for vote buying while the other five names mentioned in the course of interrogation were joined in the matter.
Further investigations on the matter revealed that Hon(Dr). Oladipupo Adebutu and the other four people mentioned in the course of interrogating the suspects have not been interviewed nor served with the matter as at the time of this report.
The matter resumed hearing on Thursday, 7th December, 2023 with cross examination of two witnesses presented by the Counsel to the Federal Government, Chief Rotimi Jacobs, SAN and so far a total of four witnesses have been cross examined. The matter was adjourned till February, 2024.