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Alleged N33bn Fraud: Ex-Minister of Power collapses outside court

Olumide-Fusika said he had a discussion with Ate outside the courtroom about Mamman’s ill-health.

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Alleged N33bn Fraud: Ex-Minister of Power collapses outside court

The arraignment of Mr Saleh Mamman, former Minister of Power under ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, has been stalled after he collapsed outside the courtroom of the Federal High Court, Abuja in Thursday.

Mamman, whose plea was fixed for Thursday morning, collapsed before the case was called.

According to reports, the former minister’s counsel, Femi Ate, SAN, told Justice James Omotosho shortly when the matter was called for Mamman to take his plea.

When hearing resumes, the ex-minister walked into the courtroom and stepped into the witness box with part of his clothes drenched.

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Justice Omotosho then asked why Mamman was sweating or whether it was raining outside.

The former minister, who responded from the dock, said water was poured on him.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s lawyer, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, SAN, while addressing the court, said though the matter was fixed for Mamman’s arraignment, there was a development outside the courtroom.

Olumide-Fusika said he had a discussion with Ate outside the courtroom about Mamman’s ill-health.

“I was informed of an incident outside. I will want my learned senior advocate to tell the honourable court himself,” he said.

Speaking, Ate said, “Mamman, upon being brought into the premises of the court, collapsed and had to be resuscitated and treated by the medical personnel of the Federal High Court.”

He said his client was served with the charge after he was resuscitated.

“He was served this morning,” he added.

The senior lawyer said he sought the understanding of Olumide-Fusika for an adjournment so that the arraignment could be done on Monday when his client would have been okay.

But the judge said due to the workload in the court dockets, the arraignment could only be fixed for September ending.

Ate then withdrew the oral application for an adjournment.

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Olumide-Fusika said he had just filed an amended charge earlier in the morning following a mistake in the name of the defendant and prayed the court that the fresh charge be read to Mamman to take his plea but Justice Omotosho disagreed with him.

The judge, however, asked Mamman if he was fit enough to take his plea today (Thursday), and he responded in the affirmative.

The former minister explained to the court that he collapsed outside the courtroom because of the drugs he took when he had not eaten, and while he was outside the courtroom waiting to be called, his blood pressure dropped.

Mamman, however, said he was fit to continue with the arraignment.

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“It can happen to anyone,” the judge said.

The ex-minister told the court that he called the attention of his lawyer to the error made by the EFCC on the name in the charge served on him.

“I was complaining about the name, that this wasn’t my name,” he said.

Justice Omotosho then stepped down the arraignment until 1pm.

Neptune Prime reports that the EFCC open N33bn money laundering case against the former Minister.

Mamman, who was a minister under former President Muhammadu Buhari from 2019 to 2021, was sacked by Buhari alongside the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, in September 2021.

He was arrested by EFCC operatives in May 2023 and was to be arraigned before Justice James Omotoso on 12 counts bordering on money laundering offences.

Proofreading, editing by Gift Luckson and Hafsat Aleeyu Muye, Journalist and Editor at Neptune Prime.

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