BREAKING: Money Laundering: Buhari’s Minister Collapses In Court, Halts Arraignment - Reportgist

BREAKING: Money Laundering: Buhari’s Minister Collapses In Court, Halts Arraignment

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The arraignment of Saleh Mamman, former Minister of Power under ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, was halted on Thursday at a Federal High Court in Abuja>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

It was gathered that Mamman, whose plea was fixed for Thursday morning, collapsed outside the courtroom before the case was called.

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The former minister’s counsel, Femi Ate, SAN, told 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.

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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.

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

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

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

Speaking, Ate said Mamman, “upon being brought into the premises of the court, he collapsed and had to be resusitated 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.

However, the judge stated that because of the heavy court docket, the arraignment could only be rescheduled for the end of September.

Ate then withdrew the oral application for an adjournment.

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 to the court that the fresh charge be read to Mamman to take his plea, but Justice Omotosho disagreed with him.>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

The judge, however, asked Mamman if he was fit enough to take his plea today, and he responded in 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.
“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 it was not my own,” he said.

Justice Omotosho then stepped down the arraignment until 1 pm today.

Osun Defender reports that 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 and was arrested by EFCC operatives in May 2023.

It was gathered that be would be arraigned today before Justice James Omotoso on 12 counts bordering on money laundering offences to the tune of N33bn.

According to the charge sheet, the former power minister was accused of conspiring with other officials of his ministry and some private companies to indirectly convert N33.8bn of funds released for the Mambilla and Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant Projects by the Federal Government.

The EFCC said the offence was contrary to Sections 18(a), 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended), and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

It read, “That you, Saleh Mamman (male), sometime in 2019, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, whilst you were the Minister of Power, conspired with other officials of your ministry and some private companies to indirectly convert the total sum of N=33,804,830,503.73 through various private companies which sums you reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful activity, to wit: criminal breach of trust about the funds released for the Mambilla and Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant Projects by the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

In count two, Mamman was said to have conspired with one Samson Bitrus to make a cash payment of $655,700 to Mohiba Investment Limited without going through the bank.

It read, “That you, Saleh Mamman (male), sometime in December 2019, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired with Samson Bitrus to make a cash payment of US$655,700:00 to Mohiba Investment Ltd. (acting through Mohammed Asheik Jidda), without going through a financial institution.”

The EFCC said the offence was contrary to Sections 1 and 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as Amended), and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

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