Mousa E. Massaquoi: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 September 2018:
Justice Bintu Fatmata Alhadi has sentenced a Nigerian named as Gozie Udoka Isaac, who was arrested at Lungi International Airport with 20.797 kilogram of cocaine to twenty years imprisonment.
The convict was initially charged with seven counts for allegedly transporting cocaine from Brazil to Sierra Leone, but was later discharged on three counts and sentenced to five years each, on the remaining four counts.
The offences for which the accused was convicted include Transportation of Prohibited Drugs contrary to Section7(b) of the National Drugs Control Act 2008, Dealing with Prohibited Drugs contrary to Section 7(c), and Unlawful Possession of Prohibited Drugs contrary to Section 8(a) all of the National Drugs Control Act 2008.
The particulars of the indictment state that the accused on 23rd October 2017, transported 50 cocaine pellets without lawful authority from Brazil to Sierra Leone through Air Maroc.
It is read that on the same date at Lungi International Airport the accused was found dealing in 50 pellets of cocaine without lawful authority, and on the last count, the accused was said to have been found in possession of 50 pellets of cocaine at the Lungi Airport.
The accused pleaded guilty to these charges when put to him at the High Court, but however denied the remaining three counts of Importation and Transportation of Prohibited Drugs.
Addressing the court, State Prosecutors – lawyer Augustine Sheku assisted by lawyer Sonia J.Y Barlatt, stated that the convict is a Nigerian resident in Brazil. He tendered the flight details and pictures of the said drugs arrested at the Airport.
Lawyer Sheku said that according to the Act, anyone found guilty of the said offences would face the penalty of life imprisonment; and for the count of prohibited drugs, the penalty is five years imprisonment.
Defense counsel lawyer Cecelia Tucker from the Legal Aid Board, asked the Judge to temper justice with mercy and consider the sincerity of the accused.
She pleaded that if possible, instead of a custodial sentence, the court could use its discretionary powers and order an immediate expatriation of the accused.
Passing her judgment, Hon. Justice Alhadi said that the accused is guilty on all four counts. She strictly warned that people should not use Sierra Leone to transport, import or engage in drug activities. Anyone found wanting will face the law, she said.
The State Prosecutor applied for the court to order the withdrawal of the said cocaine to be handed over to the Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TOCU), until such time for it to be destroyed. This request was granted by the judge.