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NDLEA freezes N20bn in 103 bank accounts owned by ‘billionaire’ drug baron

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has seised N20bn stashed in 103 bank accounts belonging to Afam Ukatu, chairman of Mallinson group of companies.

Speaking with TheCable on Thursday, Femi Babafemi, NDLEA spokesperson, said a Post No Debit order was made by the court on all his accounts in August 2022.

The NDLEA apprehended Ukatu on a flight from Lagos to Abuja on April 13.

He was arrested over an alleged N3 billion tramadol deal linked to Abba Kyari, the suspended deputy commissioner of police (DCP).

The agency secured an interim seizure of 25 properties belonging to the businessman on August 29.

The agency has also filed 23-count charges against the businessman and his six companies — Fruitroprics Industries Limited, Mallinson and Partners Limited, NISPO Porcelain Company Limited, MBL Multi-links Services Limited, NISPO Oil and Gas Limited and Urban Space Services Limited.

The charge, marked FCT/ABJ/CR/320/2022 and dated August 4, was filed before a federal high court in Abuja.

Among several allegations in the charge sheet, the billionaire was said to have converted N123.8 million, which is considered to be the proceeds of an illegal act and is punishable under sections 15(3) and (4) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act of 2011, using Fruitropics Industries Limited’s United Bank for Africa account no. 1006588563.

He was also accused of using Mallinson and Partners Limited’s UBA account between January 1, 2018, and September 23, 2021, to convert N1.447 billion.

In count four, he was accused of using NISPO Porcelain Company Limited to convert N57,436,206, proceeds of crime.

The NDLEA said his offences are punishable under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 (as amended).

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