A Lagos Federal High Court, has remanded a Nigeria billionaire, Ukatu Afamefuna Mallinson, who was linked to the suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Abba Kyari’s alleged N3 billion hard drug saga in the facility of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS).
The court presided over by Justice Peter Lifu, remanded Ukatu alongside one of his co-conspirators, Sunday Ifeanyi Ibekwute, on the alleged drug related offences.
The judge remanded the two defendants, sequel to their plea of not guilty to the charges of conspiracy, trafficking in 322 kilograms of Tramadol, unlawful dealing and possession of the said banned drug made against them by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Both Ukatu and Sunday were arraigned before the court on Friday the above alleged offences, which the prosecutor, Mrs. Theresa Asuquo, said contravened Sections 14(b); 11 and 11(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federal on Nigcria (LFN) 2004
NDLEA in the charge marked FHC/L/159c/2021, alleged that Ukatu, Sunday and one Pius Enidom, who has jump bail, on May 4, 2021, conspired among themselves and trafficking and Unlawful possessing and dealing in 322 kilograms of Tramadol.
The two defendants denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Upon their plea of not guilty, the counsel, Mr. Emeka Opara (SAN) while moving their bail appllication, urged the court to admit them to bail in the most liberal terms.
Opara (SAN) while citing plethoras of authorites and sections of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, stated that his clients are presumed innocent of the charges against them until contrary is proven.
He also told the court that the first defendant, Ukatu Mallinson, in an industrialist who is in partnership with the Nigerian Airforce, and with numerous workers. While stated that the second defendant, Sunday, his one of the first defendant’s employee.
He assured the court that his clients will not jump bail if granted.
But the prosecutor, Mrs. Asuquo, urged the court to declined granting the application, on the ground that they are flight risk.
In urging the court to declined granting the bail appllication, the prosecutor asked the court to take a critical look on some paragraphs of the agency’s counter affidavit to the defendants’ bail appllication.
Justice Lifu, while adjourned the matter till July 18, for ruling on the bail Applications, ordered that both the billionaire and the other defendant be remanded in NCoS’ custody.
The judge also issued a Bench warrant against Pius Enidom, who had jump bail and failed to appear in court despite be issued hearing notice.
Meanwhile, prior to the arraignment of the defendants, who have being detained in the NDLEA’s custody since April 16, there was a heated arguments between the defence team and the prosecutor, over the failure of the NDLEA to produce the defendants in court as ordered by the presiding judge at the last hearing of the matter.
The development, made the judge, who frown at the NDLEA’s disobedience to his order to produce the defendants, stood down the matter and order the NDLEA to bring the defendants to court, for their plea to be taken.