A court in Lilongwe on Wednesday handed out sentences to two women for attempting to smuggle dangerous drugs.
The first accused Patricia Kamwendo, 38, was fined K500,000 or in default to spend two years in jail while the second accused Doreen Nguluwe, 36, was sentenced to two years in prison.
They were caught after they tried to illegally export a drug called Apomorphine HC powder weighing 3.68 kilograms.
State Prosecutor Netier Thomson Chafikana told the court that the two women wrapped the said powder inside 93 bungles (rings) which they wanted to export to Spain through FEDEX, which deals with importation and exportation of goods.
The carton was intercepted by police officers at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) Cargo building earlier this month and upon being physically checked it was discovered that the contents in the carton were bungles which contained the said powder.
KIA police spokesperson Sapulain Chitonde told Malawi24 that investigations established that the women were the owners of the carton.
This led to the arrest of the women on 16th December.
According to Chitonde, they were brought to court where they pleaded guilty and in mitigation they asked for leniency from the court stating that they have a big responsibility of looking after their children and families.
Chafikana however noted that if the drug had reached Spain and security entities in Spain intercepted the drug, it would have painted a bad image to Malawi.
He added that the crime was planned and organised crime as the two had to sit down and plan how to conceal the powder this means they knew that the powder was a dangerous drug.
He also observed that this was a cross-border crime since the women admitted that the drug was from Mozambique en route to Spain.
The prosecutor said Malawi should not be used as a transit country for drug trafficking and passing an immediate custodial sentence of not less than 5 years would deter would be offenders and show the world that Malawi is fighting against drug trafficking.
In passing the sentences, Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Chipao said the first accused (Patricia Kamwendo) was just sent by the second accused (Doreen Nguluwe) and that her level of participation was low whilst Nguluwe was the master minder and that she knew that she was committing a crime.
Chipao therefore ordered Kamwendo to pay a fine of K500,000 while Nguluwe was sentenced to 2 years in jail.