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Drama as Buhari’s minister collapses in court during arraignment

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There was a slight drama outside the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday when a former Minister of Power, Mr Saleh Mamman collapsed moment before his scheduled arraignment.

Mamman’s legal Representative, Femi Ate, SAN, told Justice James Omotosho that his client collapsed outside the courtroom prior to his case being called.

Meanwhile, when Mamman eventually entered the courtroom, part of his clothing was soaked.

When Justice Omotosho asked about his condition, to which Mamman explained he was soaked from the water used to resuscitate him after his collapse.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, SAN, confirmed the incident and mentioned a discussion with Ate regarding Mamman’s health condition.

Ate explained that Mamman collapsed upon arriving at the court premises and was treated by Federal High Court medical personnel. Despite the incident, Mamman was served with the charges shortly after being resuscitated.

Ate requested an adjournment for the arraignment to allow Mamman time to recover, but due to the court’s busy schedule, Justice Omotosho could only offer a date in late September. Ate withdrew the oral application for adjournment after this.

Olumide-Fusika then attempted to have the fresh, amended charges read to Mamman, but the judge insisted on confirming Mamman’s fitness to proceed. Mamman, attributing his collapse to taking medication on an empty stomach, assured the court he was fit to continue.

The anti-graft agency has filed a 12-count money laundering charge against Mamman, alleging he conspired with ministry staff to divert N22 billion from the Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro Electric Power projects.

The investigation uncovered properties linked to Mamman both in Nigeria and abroad, and substantial amounts of money have reportedly been recovered.

Justice Omotosho stepped down the arraignment until 1pm. Mamman’s case is part of an ongoing crackdown on corruption, with his arrest in May 2021 and subsequent detention at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja marking significant steps in the investigation.

Mamman was dismissed from his ministerial position by former President Buhari during a cabinet restructuring in 2021.

 

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