NDLEA arrests businessman over N3bn tramadol linked to DCP Kyari team – The Sun Nigeria
Since Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) crack team has arrested a businessman, Afam Chief Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu, over a N3 billion tramadol deal linked to suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari-led Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
The arrest follows two months of surveillance by agents of the anti-narcotics agency.
Ukatu, who is chairman of the Mallinson Group of Companies, was eventually arrested on board a flight to Abuja at Terminal MM2 at Lagos Airport, Ikeja on Wednesday April 13.
A statement from Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, said investigations revealed that Ukatu had been a major importer of large shipments of various brands and high doses of tramadol hydrochloride, ranging from 120mg, 200mg, 225 mg and 250 mg, all of which are illicit. He also owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he used as a cover to import illicit drugs into Nigeria.
This is in addition to managing 103 bank accounts, most of which are used for money laundering.
Ukatu came under surveillance last year after five cartons of tramadol 225mg were seized from his staff on May 4, 2021, when he sent them to be sold to plainclothes police officers (unknown to Ukatu) from the IRT then led by Kyari of the Nigerian Police, Ikeja Lagos. The price of a carton of tramadol was negotiated at 17 million naira each compared to the black market value at the time which ranged between 18 and 20 million naira per carton in Lagos.
Following the arrest of Ukatu staff Pius Enidom and Sunday Ibekwete, Kyaris’ men were then driven by the suspects to Mallinson’s warehouse in Ojota, Lagos, where an additional 197 cartons of tramadol 225mg were seized by the IRT team. The monetary value of the 202 cartons of tramadol seized from Mallinson in one day exceeded 3 billion naira.
Three weeks after the seizure, the Kyari IRT team transferred only 12 cartons of tramadol with a truck and a suspect to NDLEA’s Lagos Command, leaving 190 cartons missing. After more than eight months of following the lead, the agency’s anti-narcotics officers finally arrested Ukatu at Lagos airport on April 13, 2022.
Kyari and four members of his team are already on trial for a different but similar offense in a Federal High Court in Abuja.