How Sacked minister standing trial for ‘fraud’ collapsed outside court

How Sacked minister standing trial for ‘fraud’ collapsed outside court

The arraignment of Saleh Mamman, who was sacked as Minister of Power under ex-President Muhammadu Buhari was, on Thursday, stalled at a Federal High Court in Abuja due to ill health.

In September 2021, Buhari fired Mamman, alongside then Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono.

They were about the only ministers Buhari sacked in his eight-year tenure, aside from some those he dropped in his first term.

On Thursday morning, Mamman reportedly collapsed outside the courtroom before the case was called.

The former minister’s counsel, Femi Ate (SAN), told the presiding judge Justice James Omotosho shortly when the matter was called for Mamman to take his plea.

Upon resumed hearing, the ex-minister walked into the courtroom and stepped into the dock with part of his clothes drenched.

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 counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), 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 learner 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.

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“He was served this morning,” he added.

The 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.

However, 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.

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

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

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

Justice Omotosho, thereafter, stepped down the arraignment until Thursday afternoon.

The EFCC had filed a 12-count money laundering charge against the Mamman.

He was alleged to have committed money laundering offences to the tune of N33 billion.

The former minister served under former President Buhari from 2019 to 2021.