‘N33bn fraud’: Ex-power minister Saleh Mamman collapses outside courtroom


Saleh Mamman, a former minister of power, collapsed outside the federal high court in Abuja on Thursday. 


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a 12-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N33,804,830,503 against Mamman.


Before proceedings, Femi Ate, Mamman’s counsel, informed James Omotosho, the judge, that his client had fainted due to ill health.


When hearing resumed, the ex-minister walked into the courtroom and stepped into the dock. His clothes were partly drenched.


The judge then asked Mamman why he was sweating or whether it was raining.


The ex-minister said water had been poured on him.


Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, the EFCC counsel, had told the court that there was a development outside the courtroom.

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


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


Responding, Ate said “upon being brought into the premises of the court, Mamman 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.


Ate said he had appealed to Olumide-Fusika that the case be adjourned to Monday on account of his client’s ill health.


However, the judge had said due to the backlog in the court dockets, the arraignment could only be fixed for September ending.


Ate then withdrew the oral application for an adjournment.


Olumide-Fusika said he had filed an amended charge in the morning following a mistake in the name of the defendant, and prayed that a fresh charge be read to Mamman so he could take his plea.

Omotosho however demurred.


The judge then asked Mamman if he was fit enough to take his plea today. The defendant responded in the affirmative.


The former minister told the court that he collapsed outside the courtroom because he had taken medicines on an empty stomach.


He said while he was outside the courtroom waiting to be called, his blood pressure dropped.

Mamman said he was fit to continue with the arraignment.


“It can happen to any one,” the judge said.


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


“I was complaining about the name, that it was not my own,” he said.


Omotosho then stepped down the arraignment until 1pm today.


Mamman was appointed minister by former President Muhammadu Buhari in August 2019 and was sacked in September 2021.


In May 2023, the former minister was arrested by the anti-graft agency over an alleged N22 billion fraud.


The anti-graft agency alleges that Mamman conspired with officials at the power ministry and some private companies to “indirectly convert” the sum of N33.8 billion, which was meant for the Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro Electric Power projects.

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