The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Monday has announced the arrest of Chief Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu, a suspected billionaire drug baron behind a⁷we N3billion Tramadol deal allegedly involving the embattled police cop, Abba Kyari.
Ukatu, who is Chairman of Mallinson Group of Companies, was arrested onboard a flight to Abuja at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport, Ikeja on Wednesday 13th April.
The agency, in a statement issued by its NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi said Ukatu’s arrest was made possible after months of surveillance.
Babafemi said Ukatu came under the radar of the NDLEA after five cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized from his staff on 4th May 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 the statement, Kyari’s men further arrested Ukatu’s staff, identified as Enidom and Sunday Ibekwete, and led them to a warehouse in Ojota in Lagos where 197 additional Cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized by the IRT Team.
Babafemi added that though Kyari’s men arrested the suspects and recovered a total of 197 cartons from the warehouse, they only transferred only 12 Cartons of the Tramadol with one truck and a suspect to the Lagos Command of the NDLEA.
The statement read: “This is in addition to operating 103 bank accounts, most of which are used to launder money.
“Ukatu came under watch last year after five cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized from his staff on 4th May 2021 when he sent them to sell to undercover p1olice officers (unknown to Ukatu) from the then Kyari-led IRT of the Nigeria Police, Ikeja Lagos. The price of a carton of Tramadol was negotiated at N17million each as against the then black market value that ranged between N18million and N20million a carton in Lagos.
“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 225mg were seized by the IRT Team. The monetary value of the 202 cartons of Tramadol seized from Mallinson in one day was over N3billion.
“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 13th April 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.”