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Ex-Minister Collapses Outside Courtroom


On Thursday, former Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, collapsed outside the Federal High Court in Abuja due to ill health. This incident occurred just before his plea in a significant money laundering case. According to VMT News, Mamman was set to appear in court that morning when he unexpectedly collapsed outside the courtroom.

Mamman’s counsel, Femi Ate, SAN, reported the incident to Justice James Omotosho when called to present his plea. As the hearing resumed, Mamman, with part of his clothes drenched, entered the courtroom and took his place in the dock. Justice Omotosho, noticing Mamman’s condition, inquired whether it was raining outside, to which Mamman explained that water had been poured on him following his collapse.

The prosecution, represented by EFCC lawyer Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, SAN, addressed the court, acknowledging that while the session was scheduled for Mamman’s arraignment, an unexpected development outside the courtroom had caused a delay. Olumide-Fusika recounted a conversation with Ate regarding Mamman’s health, stating, “I was informed of an incident outside. I will want my learned senior advocate to tell the honorable court himself.”

Ate elaborated that upon arriving at the court premises, Mamman collapsed and required resuscitation and treatment by the Federal High Court’s medical personnel. He mentioned that Mamman was served with the charges after he regained consciousness. Seeking understanding, Ate requested an adjournment of the arraignment until Monday, hoping Mamman would be well enough by then. However, Justice Omotosho, citing a congested court docket, indicated that the earliest possible date for rescheduling would be late September. Consequently, Ate withdrew his request for an adjournment.

Meanwhile, Olumide-Fusika announced the filing of an amended charge earlier that morning due to a clerical error in the defendant’s name. He requested that the new charge be read to Mamman, but Justice Omotosho disagreed, instead asking Mamman if he felt well enough to proceed with the arraignment. Mamman affirmed that he was ready to continue, explaining that his collapse resulted from taking medication on an empty stomach, which caused his blood pressure to drop while waiting outside the courtroom.

The judge acknowledged Mamman’s explanation: “It can happen to anyone.” Mamman further pointed out the error in his name on the charge sheet, which he had brought to his lawyer’s attention. Following this clarification, Justice Omotosho postponed the arraignment until 1 pm.

The EFCC has filed a 12-count charge against Mamman, accusing him of laundering approximately N33 billion. The allegations include conspiring with ministry staff overseeing the accounts of the Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro Electric Power projects to divert about N22 billion. Investigations have revealed properties both in Nigeria and overseas linked to the suspects, and significant sums in naira and dollars have been recovered.

Mamman served as Minister of Power under former President Muhammadu Buhari from 2019 to 2021. On May 10, 2021, he was arrested and detained at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja. He was later dismissed by Buhari on September 1, 2021, alongside the then Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, as part of a cabinet restructuring.

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