A Federal High Court in Nigeria has remanded Olu Agunloye, the country’s former Minister of Power in prison over his alleged involvement in a $6 billion scandal surrounding the Mambilla hydropower project.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) brought charges against Agunloye, accusing him of fraud, abuse of power, and diversion of public funds related to the project, which has been plagued by delays and corruption allegations for decades.
On Wednesday, Agunloye appeared before the Federal High Court in Abuja and pleaded not guilty to the charges read against him.
The former minister has been remanded in Kuje prison until bail is granted.
The EFCC had invited Agunloye for questioning over his role in the $6 billion Mambilla hydropower contract.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had accused Agunloye of mismanaging the power project during his tenure from 1999 to 2003 and failed to brief him on the state of the project.
There was a transfer, according to reports, that was allegedly made by a Sunrise Power official to Agunloye with the description “FRM LENO”, but Sunrise said it was a “cultural payment” to support the former minister’s medical expenses.
However, a further investigation by EFCC alleged Agunloye spent the money on shopping and transportation around Orlando, Florida, in the United States, and not on medical expenses.
The discovery of the bank transfers was said to have triggered another investigation dating back to the 2000s.