The Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, has granted the Managing Director of Mallinson & Partners, Mr Afamefuna Mallinson Ukatu and second defendant, Sunday Ibekwute, bail.
Counsel to Ukatu, led by Victor Opara, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had filed an application challenging the continued detention of his client without charging the same to court. The case suffered a series of adjournments before July 8, 2022, due to the failure of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency’s (NDLEA) to bring the said accused persons to court since their arrest and detention in the agency’s facilities in April this year.
It took an order of the Ikoyi court presided by Justice P. O. Lifu, compelling NDLEA to produce Ukatu and other accused persons in the case before him on Friday, July 8, 2022. Mallinson was brought to a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi for the first time by the NDLEA, on the allegation of importation of tramadol worth over N3 billion, alongside co-accused person, Mr. Sunday Ibekwute, since their arrest on April 13, 2022.
NDLEA finally produced Ukatu to the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, on July 10, before Justice Peter Lifu, who upheld Ukatu and Ibekwute’s bail applications filed on July 18, 2022 for hearing.
The July 18 date could not be held, but the court, sitting last Friday, granted the duo bail, in accordance with their human rights and fixed October 6, 2022 for hearing of the case. Counsel to Ukatu further pushed for a hearing, which was granted by the court, so that, according to him, the truth would be revealed as soon as possible.
Justice Peter Lifu upheld Ukatu and Ibekwute’s bail applications with the condition that both deposit N100 million with two sureties in the like sum. One of the sureties, according to the judge, must be an industrialist, specifically, a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), who must be a landed property owner within the court’s jurisdiction.
The second surety must be a Grade Level 15 official either in a Federal or Lagos State establishment.
The judge also ordered the defendants to deposit their international passports with the court’s registry and file an affidavit of dual citizenship if they hold more than Nigerian nationality.