NDLEA Grabs Mallinson Chairman Over N3bn Tramadol Linked to Abba Kyari

April 25, 2022
Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu Mallinson Chairman

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A businessman identified as Mr Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) over the N3 billion tramadol deal involving the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Mr Abba Kyari.

Mr Kyari and his team, the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) were accused of being involved in the sale of narcotics.

In a statement issued on Monday by the NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, it was alleged that Mr Ukatu was the billionaire drug baron behind the N3billion tramadol deal.

According to the statement, after months of surveillance and evading arrest, Mr Ukatu, who is Chairman of Mallinson Group of Companies, was eventually grabbed onboard a flight to Abuja at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport, Ikeja on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.

The anti-drug agency claimed 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 owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he used as a cover to import illicit drugs into Nigeria in addition to operating 103 bank accounts, most of which are used to allegedly launder money.

The NDLEA said Mr Ukatu came under watch last year after five cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized from 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. The price of a carton of Tramadol was negotiated at N17 million each as against the then black market value that ranged between N18 million and N20 million a carton in Lagos.

After the arrest of the staff of the Mallinson Chairman: Pius Enidom and Sunday Ibekwete, Mr 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 N3 billion.

Three weeks after the seizure, the 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 Mr Ukatu at the Lagos airport about two weeks ago.

Mr 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.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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