The Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court on Friday sentenced a Nigerian national Okechukwu Ogbunobi to four years imprisonment for illegal importation of a dangerous drug called ephedrin.
The court heard that on May 8 2016, Ogbunobi landed at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe from Benin on an Ethiopian Airlines flight with nine kilogrammes (kg) of the drug in his luggage.
KIA Police arrested the convict after an alert from Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) officers.
In mitigation, Oghunobi said he was betrayed by his friend who offered him the bag for free without knowledge of its contents.
Passing judgement, Lilongwe chief resident magistrate Ruth Chinangwa said illegal importation of dangerous drugs is an offence in Malawi.
She said: “[Illegal] drug importation deserves a stiff punishment. I hereby sentence you to serve a four-year jail term with no other option [for a fine].”
The drug was examined and certified to be ephedrin at the National Drug Quality Control Laboratory in Lilongwe.
The court ordered destruction of the drug after giving sentence. The drug was later burnt in full view of the convict, police, court officials and others who attended the session. n