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NDLEA freezes N20bn in socialite’s 103 bank accounts

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has frozen N20bn lodged in 103 bank accounts belonging to Lagos socialite and businessman, Mallinson Ukatu.

The NDLEA froze the accounts after the businessman was arrested for drug dealing and is currently being held at the Ikoyi Custodial Centre.

The Drug law agency also filed 23-count charges against the socialite 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- before the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The charges dated August 4, 2022, were signed by the Director, Prosecution and Legal Services, J. Sunday, J. Obi, Bridget Viasimah, J. Aernan and the Prosecuting Counsel, Mike Kassa, on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The drug agency had earlier obtained an interim seizure of 25 properties belonging to Ukatu who was arrested for allegedly importing tramadol valued at N3bn into the country.

Ukatu was said to have used Fruitropics Industries Limited’s United Bank for Africa account no. 1006588563 to illegally convert N123.8m which is deemed to be proceeds of an unlawful act, contrary to section 15(2)(b) and punishable under section 15(3) and (4) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 (as amended).

The first defendant was also alleged to have, between January 1, 2018 and September 23, 2021, used Mallinson and Partners Limited’s UBA account no. 1001228653 to convert N1.447bn which was a proceed of crime in violation of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 (as amended).

The NDLEA further accused the businessman of using Multi-Links Service Limited’s Access Bank account no. 0720857089 to convert  N52.4m between January 1, 2017 and October 14, 2021.