Buhari’s minister accused of N33 billion fraud collapses outside court premises

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Saleh Mamman, former Minister of Power under ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, collapsed outside a Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday due to ill health.

The incident occurred just before Mamman was scheduled to be arraigned on a 12-count money laundering charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Mamman collapsed shortly after arriving at the court premises.

His lawyer, Femi Ate, SAN, informed Justice James Omotosho of the development, explaining that his client had to be resuscitated and treated by medical personnel on-site.

Despite this, Mamman managed to walk into the courtroom and took his place in the dock, visibly drenched and distressed.

During the court session, EFCC’s lawyer, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, SAN, acknowledged the incident and expressed his willingness to accommodate an adjournment request due to Mamman’s health condition.

Ate, Mamman’s counsel, requested the arraignment be postponed to Monday, allowing his client time to recover.

However, Justice Omotosho noted that due to the court’s heavy docket, the earliest available date for the arraignment would be at the end of September. Ate then withdrew his oral application for an adjournment.

The judge asked Mamman directly if he felt capable of proceeding with his plea, to which the former minister affirmed he was.

Mamman explained his collapse was due to a combination of medication taken on an empty stomach and a resultant drop in blood pressure while waiting outside the courtroom.

The EFCC had accused Mamman of involvement in money laundering offences amounting to N33 billion.

The charges relate to alleged conspiracies to divert funds from the Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro Electric Power projects during his tenure as Minister of Power from 2019 to 2021.

The investigations have reportedly uncovered significant assets both within Nigeria and abroad linked to Mamman and his associates, alongside the recovery of substantial sums in naira and dollars.

Mamman was appointed Minister of Power by President Buhari in 2019 and served until his dismissal in a cabinet reshuffle in September 2021.

Following his arrest in May 2021, the EFCC has been pursuing investigations into his alleged corrupt activities and financial mismanagement during his time in office.

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