Friday, June 14, 2024

 

Court Remands Billionaire, Ukatu Mallinson, Over Alleged Illegal Drug Dealing

Must Read

Dangote Says Oil Mafia Tried To Frustrate  Refinery Project 

The founder of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has revealed that both local and international criminal organisations, which he described...

Dangote Shifts Supply Date Of Petrol To July

Dangote Refinery has said its plan to release Premium Motor Spirit otherwise call petrol into the market this month...

Lagos-Calabar Highway: FG Reroutes Project, Slashes Lanes From 10 To 6

The Federal Government says it has rerouted the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway path to avoid any possible damage to subsea...

 

Ukatu Afamefuna Mallinson

The Federal High Court sitting inLagos has remanded a Nigeria billionaire, Ukatu Afamefuna Mallinson, who was linked to the suspended Deputy Suprintendent of Police (DSP) Abba Kyari, over the alleged N3 billion hard drug saga in the facility of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS).

The court presided over by Justice Peter Lifu, remanded Ukatu alongside one of his co-conspirators, Sunday Ifeanyi Ibekwute, on the alleged drug related offences.

The judge remanded the two defendants, sequel to their plea of not guilty to the charges of conspiracy, trafficking in 322 kilograms of Tramadol, unlawful dealing and possession of the said banned drug made against them by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Both Ukatu and Sunday Ibekwute were arraigned before the court on Friday on the above alleged offences, which the prosecutor, Mrs. Theresa Asuquo, said contravened Sections 14(b); 11 and 11(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federal on Nigcria (LFN) 2004

NDLEA had in the charge marked FHC/L/159c/2021, alleged that Ukatu, Sunday Ibekute and one Pius Enidom, who has jump bail, on May 4, 2021, conspired among themselves in trafficking and Unlawful possessing and dealing in 322 kilograms of Tramadol.

The two defendants denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Upon their plea of not guilty, the counsel, Mr. Emeka Opara (SAN) while moving their bail appllication, urged the court to admit them to bail in the most liberal terms.

Opara (SAN) while citing plethoras of authorites and sections of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, stated that his clients are presumed innocent of the charges against them until the contrary is proved.

He also told the court that the second defendant, Ukatu Mallinson, is an industrialist who is in partnership with the Nigerian Airforce, and with numerous workers. While stating that the second defendant, Sunday, his one of the first defendant’s employee.

He assured the court that his clients will not jump bail if granted.

But the prosecutor, Mrs. Asuquo, urged the court to declined granting the application, on the ground that they are flight risk.

In urging the court to declined granting the bail appllication, the prosecutor asked the court to take a critical look on some paragraphs of the agency’s counter affidavit to the defendants’ bail appllication.

Justice Lifu, while adjourned the matter till July 18, for ruling on the bail applications, ordered that both the billionaire and the other defendant be remanded in NCoS’ custody.

The judge also issued a Bench warrant against Pius Enidom, who had jump bail and failed to appear in court despite being issued hearing notice.

Meanwhile, prior to the arraignment of the defendants, who have being in the NDLEA’s custody since April 16, there was a heated arguments between the defence team and the prosecutor, over the failure of the NDLEA to produce the defendants in court as ordered by the presiding judge at the last hearing of the matter.

The development, made the judge to stood down the matter and ordered the NDLEA to bring the defendants to court.

It would be recalled that Ukatu and Sunday Ifeanyi Ibekwute who had bieng in the custody of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) since April this year for alleged drug offences alongside Pius Enidom said to be at large after being granted administrative bail by the NDLEA were supposed to have been arraigned before Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, on June 8th, but the arraignment was stalled due to a petition to the Chief Judge asking for the transfered of the case to another Judge of the court.

Consequence upon the transfer of the case by the Chief Judge to Justice Peter Lifu, the arraignment of the defendants was then fixed for last Friday.

However, when the case came up last Friday, counsel for the NDLEA, Mrs T. E Asuquo while seeking adjournment informed the court that the prosecution has filed an application seeking the transfer of the case to Abuja.

Asuquo also informed the court that the case has been contracted out by the agency to an external lawyer , Yusuf Ali ,SAN who couldn’t come to the court that day as he was before the Supreme Court, Abuja.

But the defence counsel led by Mr Victor Opara, SAN, Chief Benson Ndakara and Ndubuisi Agetu opposed the prosecution’s application for adjournment in that the application was meant to stall the arraignment of the defendants who have being in the NDLEA custody since April.

Justice Lifu while adjourning the matter till yesterday , made a definite order for the production of the defendants for their arraignment , while Chief Benson Ndakara counsel for the first defendant, Pius Enidom was asked to produce him in court yesterday.

However, when the case came up yesterday, the prosecutor told the court that she was surprised at the absence of the defendants in court as she was given full assurances that the defendants will be produced in court.

On the first defendant who has being at large, she requested for a bench warrant for his arrest and this was granted by the court, but her application for another adjournment was vehemently opposed by the defense team who submitted that the agency can not continue to keep the defendants in custody perpetually without being taken to court to face trial.

Following the heated argument by parties, Justice Ringim stood down the matter for hours so that the prosecutor could produce the defendants in court .

After a long wait, two of the defendants, Ukatu and Ibekwute who are in the custody of the NDLEA were eventually brought to court and they took thier plea following which thier bail application was taken.

According to the NDLEA, Ukatu, who is the Chairman of Mallinson Group of Companies was arrested sometimes in April this year after months of surveillance and evading arrest by the anti-narcotic operatives on board a flight to Abuja at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport, Ikeja on Wednesday, April 13.

The anti -narcotic agency said investigations revealed that the suspect has been a major importer of large consignments of different brands and high dosages of tramadol hydrochloride, ranging from 120mg, 200mg, 225mg and 250mg, all of which are illicit.

He was said to own pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he used as a cover to import illicit drugs into Nigeria as well as operating 103 bank accounts, most of which are used to launder money.

Ukatu came under security watch last year after five cartons of tramadol of 225mg were seized from one of his staff on May 4, 2021, when he sent them to sell to undercover police officers (unknown to Ukatu) from the then Kyari-led IRT of the Nigeria Police, Ikeja Lagos.

According to NDLEA, the price of a carton of tramadol was negotiated at N17 million each as against the then black market value of between N18 million and N20 million a carton in Lagos.

NDLEA further disclosed that after the arrest of Ukatu’s staff; Pius Enidom and Sunday Ibekwete, Kyari’s men were then led by the suspects to Mallinson’s warehouse at Ojota in Lagos, where 197 additional cartons of tramadol of 225mg were seized by the IRT Team.

The monetary value of the 202 cartons of tramadol seized from Mallinson in one day was said to be over N3billion.

According to NDLEA, three weeks after the seizure, the Kyari’s IRT team transferred only 12 cartons of the tramadol with one truck and a suspect to the Lagos Command of the NDLEA, leaving 190 cartons unaccounted for.

After over eight months of following the lead, anti-narcotic officers of the agency eventually arrested Ukatu at the Lagos airport on April 13, 2022.

Kyari and four top members of his team are already facing trial for a different, but similar offence at a Federal High Court in Abuja.

- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
Latest News

Dangote Says Oil Mafia Tried To Frustrate  Refinery Project 

The founder of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has revealed that both local and international criminal organisations, which he described...

Dangote Shifts Supply Date Of Petrol To July

Dangote Refinery has said its plan to release Premium Motor Spirit otherwise call petrol into the market this month will no longer be feasible. The...

Lagos-Calabar Highway: FG Reroutes Project, Slashes Lanes From 10 To 6

The Federal Government says it has rerouted the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway path to avoid any possible damage to subsea cables belonging to telecommunication companies. The...

Ogun Applies To Acquire Basin Development Authority’s Hydro Power Plant To Boost Power Supply

  L-R: Executive Director, Engineering, Engr. Babalola Olatunji; MD/CEO, Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority, Engr. Adedeji Ashiru; Governor Dapo Abiodun; Head of Service, Mr. Kehinde...

June 12: Gov. Abiodun Directs Housing Ministry To Renovate MKO Abiola’s House

  Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has directed the Ministry of Housing to immediately give a face-lift to the house of late MKO...
- Advertisement -

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -