EFCC arrests ex-minister Sale Mamman over alleged N22bn fraud
The former Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, has been arrested and detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in connection with an alleged N22 billion fraud, according to sources.
Mamman, who served as a minister under President Muhammadu Buhari from 2019 to 2021, was reportedly arrested in the early hours of Wednesday and is being held at the headquarters of the anti-graft agency in Abuja.
The arrest is said to be linked to ongoing investigations into alleged corruption in the execution of some power projects.
Mamman is alleged to have conspired with staff of the ministry in charge of the accounts of the Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro Electric Power projects to divert N22 billion and share it among themselves.
The investigations reportedly uncovered properties in Nigeria and overseas allegedly linked to the suspects. Millions of naira and dollars have also reportedly been recovered as part of the investigations.
President Muhammadu Buhari had fired Mamman and Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, on September 1, 2021, in a cabinet restructuring exercise. While serving as Minister of Power, Mamman had alleged that there was a cabal in his ministry denying Nigerians electricity. This was in response to criticism that followed his suspension of some top officials in the ministry.
Mamman had suspended Damilola Ogunbiyi, former Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), and Marilyn Amobi, Managing Director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), pending an investigation into allegations levelled against them. However, some critics accused him of ethnic bias.
Mamman’s arrest and detention by the EFCC is the latest in a series of high-profile corruption cases in Nigeria.
The Buhari administration has been widely criticized for its inability to stem the tide of corruption in the country.
However, the government has repeatedly promised to tackle corruption head-on and bring all those involved in corrupt practices to justice.