A Malawian woman was on Monday arrested in Ghana at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) for smuggling heroin, according to reports that Malawi24 has been following.
When she was arrested, the suspect had just disembarked from Ethiopian Airlines Flight Number ET921 from Malawi at 11:30 AM.
The Ghanaian Post reported that the suspect had allegedly admitted trying to smuggle the drug and claimed she had done so after being hired to work as a drug mule by Nigerian businessman Samuel Onyeba Imo for $1,300.
The accused identified as Grace Sauti Phiri, an Agricultural Gender Roles and Responsibility Officer (AGRESSO), was arrested at KIA by operatives of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB). Malawian Sauti Phiri was arrested and held in Ghana’s capital on 21st December after NACOB officials noticed a suspicious white substance in her bag.
Officials later carried out a search and discovered she had allegedly matted the Class A drug into her bag before boarding the flight from Malawi.
Appearing before an Accra circuit court for allegedly importing quantities of heroin, a narcotic drug, Phiri claimed ownership of the bag as well as the substance, insisting that she was contracted by one Onyeba Imo.
The agricultural officer further stated that she was to deliver the said bag to one Val, another Nigerian residing in Ghana.
The plea of the accused – who has been charged with importation of narcotic drug without licence from the Ministry of Health and for possessing narcotic drug without lawful authority – was taken in a court presided over by Aboagye Tandoh. The accused was remanded into the Nsawam Prison until January 8, 2016.
Meanwhile, Sauti Phiri’s Lawyer Paul Abagriga has urged the court to grant bail to his client.
He said the court ought not to remand his client if the prosecution was sending the substance to the Food and Drugs Authority (DFA) for testing saying that the substance could test negative.
However, during interrogation, it was revealed that she was having a check-in luggage with log number ET 331006 which was recovered. A search in the bag revealed quantities of white powdery substance which were field-tested and proved to be heroin.
A conviction on illegal possession of a controlled substance can result in serious criminal penalties for the accused.
Ghana has some of the toughest anti-drugs laws in Africa, with judges permitted to impose not less than 10 years penalty for traffickers and drug substances are heavily regulated by the law.