News Investigators/ Some members of staff of the Zenith Bank have been grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in connection with the alleged vote buying by, Oladipupo Adebutu, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the March 18 governorship election in Ogun State.
It would be recalled that the Ogun State Police Commissioner, Oladimeji Yomi, had earlier said thorough investigations have been carried out to ascertain the culpability of different individuals in the large-scale electoral fraud.
Mr. Adebutu, in cahoots with some officials of Zenith Bank allegedly printed 200,000 prepaid Verve ATM credit cards preloaded with N10,000 each, totalling N2.4billion, which were distributed during the governorship election.
The commissioner said that the police had completed its investigation by interrogating all that involved except Mr. Adebutu, who continued to give contradictory statements on his whereabouts.
The police chief added that the comprehensive report on the alleged voter inducement has been submitted to the Attorney General of the Federation and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for necessary action.
Meanwhile, multiple security sources confirmed that the Zenith Bank staff were invited by the EFCC purposely to ascertain their level of involvement in the alleged infraction, including those in charge of issuance of cards as well as Mr. Adebutu’s Relationship Officer.
According to one of the sources at the anti-graft agency, statements from the bank officials have exposed how Mr. Adebutu contacted the commercial bank for the issuance of the 200,000 preloaded ATM credit cards two days to the election.
The bank officials were also alleged to have confessed in their statements that the PDP candidate, who they claimed had been banking with them in the last 14 years told them that the cards were to be used as means of endowment funds in memory of his late mother, even when the request was made two days to the gubernatorial polls.
It was learnt that the bank’s action was faulted on the premise that Mr. Adebutu, being a politically exposed person and the governorship candidate of a major political party must have political interest to advance during the period.
The bank, it was gathered, was randomly blamed for allowing itself to be used in the surreptitious move to undermine the electoral process and breach Nigeria’s extant law.
The anti-graft agency has, however, granted administrative bail to the bank officials, according to the source, and fixed another day for further interrogation in the course of its investigation.
The source, in tandem with some of the findings of police earlier, further revealed that Mr. Adebutu was accused to have perpetrated bribery, conspiracy, undue influence contrary to sections 121 and 127 of the Electoral Act 2022, breach of electoral law prohibiting vote trading, deliberate facilitation of money laundering, and connivance to deliberately breach the monetary policy of the Federal Government.
Efforts to reach Mr. Adebutu for comment proved abortive.