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Alleged N33bn Fraud: How ex-Minister Mamman collapsed outside courtroom

Former Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, collapsed outside a Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday due to ill health.

The incident occurred shortly before his arraignment on a 12-count charge of money laundering, related to an alleged N33 billion fraud.

Mamman, who served as Minister of Power under former President Muhammadu Buhari from 2019 to 2021, was seen collapsing outside the courtroom before the case was called.

His counsel, Femi Ate (SAN), informed Justice James Omotosho about the incident when the case resumed.

“He collapsed and had to be resuscitated and treated by the medical personnel of the Federal High Court,” Ate stated, explaining that Mamman had only been served the charge after he was revived.

The former minister walked into the courtroom with part of his clothes drenched.

Justice Omotosho asked why Mamman was sweating and if it was raining outside, to which Mamman responded that water was poured on him.

EFCC lawyer Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN) confirmed the development outside the courtroom, stating, “I was informed of an incident outside. I will want my learned senior advocate to tell the honourable court himself.”

Ate then sought an adjournment, citing his client’s ill health, but the judge indicated that due to the court’s workload, the arraignment could only be rescheduled for late September.

Ate subsequently withdrew the request for an adjournment.

Olumide-Fusika informed the court of an amended charge filed earlier that morning due to a mistake in Mamman’s name.

Justice Omotosho disagreed with the timing but asked Mamman if he was fit to proceed. Mamman affirmed, explaining his collapse was due to taking medication on an empty stomach, which caused his blood pressure to drop.

The judge decided to step down the arraignment until 1 pm to allow Mamman to recuperate.

Mamman was arrested on May 10, 2021, and detained at the EFCC headquarters.

He and staff from the Ministry of Power are accused of diverting about N22 billion from the Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro Electric Power projects.

Investigations have reportedly uncovered properties linked to the suspects and significant sums of money.

Justice Omotosho concluded, “It can happen to anyone,” highlighting the human aspect of the courtroom proceedings as Mamman, despite his health challenges, prepared to face the serious charges against him.

Meanwhile, when the matter resumed after the step down, Mamman was in Kuje Prison in Abuja, pending the consideration of his bail application.

This development came after the former Power Minister pleaded not guilty to the 12-count money laundering charges leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

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