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Court remands billionaire industrialist over alleged Tramadol trafficking

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has remanded a billionaire businessman, Ukatu Afamefuna Mallinson, in the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS)’s custody.

Ukatu, Managing Director of Mallinson & Partners Ltd, was remanded on Friday with his co-defendant, Sunday Ifeanyi Ibekwute in connection with an illegal drugs charge.

Justice Peter Lifu made the order following their arraignment by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Ukatu is the Managing Director of Mallinson & Partners Ltd, whom the NDLEA alleged imported two containers containing 1,284 cartons of Tramadol worth N22billion in 2019.

The agency also claimed he was behind a N3billion shipment of tramadol linked to the suspended police chief, Abba Kyari.

The NDLEA brought both men before the judge on allegations of conspiracy, trafficking in 322 kilogrammes of Tramadol, unlawful dealing and possession of the said banned drug, in a charge marked FHC/L/159c/2021

It was alleged that Ukatu, Ibekwute and one Pius Enidom, who allegedly jumped bail, on May 4, 2021, conspired to commit the offence.

Prosecution counsel Mrs. Theresa Asuquo told the court that the alleged offences contravened Sections 14(b); 11 and 11(b) of the NDLEA Act, 2004.

Both defendants pleaded not guilty and their counsel, Mr. Emeka Opara (SAN) applied for their bail, saying they would not abscond.

Opara told the court that Mallinson was an industrialist in partnership with the Nigerian Air Force and was also a mass employer of labour, adding that the Ibekwute was one of the first defendant’s employees.

But Asuquo opposed him, arguing that they were a flight risk.

Justice Lifu remanded both defendants in the NCoS’ custody and adjourned till July 18, for ruling on their bail applications.

The judge also issued a bench warrant against Enidom, following his failure to appear in court despite being issued a hearing notice.

(The Nation)
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