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How Adebutu Applied for 200,000 Prepaid Cards, Bank Official Tells Court

A staff of Zenith Bank, Celestina Appeal, yesterday, disclosed how the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ogun State, Mr. Oladipupo Adebutu, applied for the production of 200,000 prepaid valve cards on February 27, 2023.

At the resumed hearing of the criminal charge against Adebutu and others before the Ogun State High Court, the prosecution (Federal Government of Nigeria), represented by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, called its 9th witness, Celestina Appeal, who is the Head of Department of Card Services in Zenith Bank.

In her testimony, Ms Appeal stated that by a letter dated February 27, 2023, Adebutu applied for the issuance of 200,000 prepaid cards which he claimed were intended for distribution to beneficiaries of his empowerment scheme in commemoration of the death of his mother, Dame Caroline Adebutu.

The witness stated that the cards were subsequently produced upon the approval of Verve and that the same were delivered to Adebutu on March 7 and 13, 2023, respectively.

On how she came in contact with Ladi Adebutu, she said: “I know the 1st defendant. He has been a customer of the bank since 2009. The 1st defendant requested a card from the bank via a letter on February 27, 2023, to issue 200,000 prepaid cards. The prepaid cards were for beneficiaries in commemoration of the death of his late mother, Dame Caroline Adebutu.

“He gave the bank a graphical design he wanted on the card. When we received the request, the first thing we did was to confirm if the letter was from him. We then confirmed that the purpose was for his late mother, and we did confirm that the mother was late. We later got approval for the card scheme from Verve. When we got the approval, we went ahead to produce the 200,000 cards.

“When the cards were produced, they were delivered to the bank in batches. The first was received on March 7, 2023. The bank delivered in batches as well. The last batch was delivered on the 13th of March, 2023. Between 7th and 13th March, when the cards were delivered, the account wasn’t funded. It was after we delivered the last batch of cards that the account was funded to take care of the funding of the prepaid cards.”

Meanwhile, the prosecution sought to tender the letter of request written by Adebutu and his statement of account but Mr Adebutu through his counsel, Gordy Uche, SAN, objected vehemently to the documents being admitted as having not been certified.

The prosecutor countered the argument, saying that private documents do not require certification, citing different cases.

After hearing from both sides, the trial Judge, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, adjourned the case till Wednesday, March 20, 2024, for ruling and continuation of the hearing.

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