‘How DCP Kyari re-smuggled 190 cartons of tramadol’ – NDLEA
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has provided more insight into how the detained and suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari-led Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigerian Police Force re-smuggled 190 cartons of tramadol out of a total of 202 cartons reportedly impounded by the IRT from an alleged drug baron, Chief Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu’s agents and warehouse.
The narcotic Agency gave the insight in a statement released by it in respect of the reported arrest of Ukatu on 13th April 2022 at the Lagos airport; after months of allegedly manhunt and evasion of arrest.
According to NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi , the award winning industrialist and eminent member of several professional bodies, NGOs and business groups is behind the controversial N3billion Abba Kyari’s drug deal .
The Agency disclosed that Ukata operates 103 bank accounts, most of which are used to launder money. NDLEA also disclosed that Ukata who sits on the board of many corporate blue chip companies is behind the importation and distribution of different brands and high dosages of Tramadol Hydrochloride; and owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies which he allegedly uses as cover to land illicit drugs into the country.
Babafemi in the statement on Monday, titled, ‘NDLEA arrests drug baron behind N3billion Tramadol linked to Abba Kyaris team’ listed some of the tramadol range linked to Ukata to include 120mg, 200mg, 225mg and 250mg; believed to be outside the approved commercial consumption range and therefore, illegal.
His arrest is believed to be critical for the effective prosecution of Kyari, even as analysts say the Agency’s prosecutorial grace in the ongoing trial of Kyari and four others have been greatly enhanced.
The statement reads in part: “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 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 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.”
The suspect bagged THE SUN Newspaper Industrialist of the Year 2020 Award. Until his arrest, Ukata who is the President, Mallinson Group, was director in Cowry Assets and Management, Master Energy Oil & Gas Limited, Urban Space Services, and Director, Alor Microfinance Bank Limited.
Highly connected, report says he is a Fellow of the Rotary Club International, Fellow, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, (MAN), Member of the Certified Institute of Cost Management of Nigeria (CICM), and a certified member of the Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria.