CRIMINAL PROSECUTION 08/02/2024
Ogun Vote-buying Case: ‘Adebutu applied for ATM verve cards’ – Interswitch
Nigerian digital payment company Interswitch Limited has told a Federal High Court in the Kobape area of Abeokuta that Ladi Adebutu, the Ogun State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the 2023 elections, followed due process in the production of the controversial verve cards allegedly used for vote buying.
The Federal Government had dragged Adebutu and nine others to court over allegations of vote buying during the March 18 governorship election in the state.
In the suit marked AB/10c/2023 (FRN vs. Adebutu &Ors), the Federal Government alleged that Adebutu ordered through his bank the issuance of 200,000 preloaded ATM verve cards with N10,000 and distributed the same on the day of the election across the state with the intent of inducing voters in the state.
At a resumed hearing on Wednesday, the Federal Government, led by its counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, called three witnesses, including an official of Interswitch Ltd., against Adebutu.
One of the witnesses, Seyi Binuyo, a scheme managing executive at Interswitch Ltd., told the court that the verve cards were duly approved by his company.
He added that the request for the design of the cards followed all the stipulated requirements and guidelines of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
Binuyo said Interswitch approved the cards after due diligence, saying: “We reviewed the guidelines and checked through the request for the cards before giving our approval.”
The certificate of approval for the cards was therefore tendered by the prosecuting counsel and was admitted as an exhibit.
Other witnesses called included voters who claimed that they were offered the preloaded cards at their polling units.
All the witnesses were also cross-examined by the defence counsel, Gordy Uche.
Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, however, adjourned the case until March 19 and 20 for continuation of the hearing.