Malawian woman sentenced 15 years in Seychelles for transporting drugs


A Malawian woman, Nellie Kawinga, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in Seychelles. The sentence has been meted out for her involvement in drug transport in the country.

Kawinga, who is 39, was arrested at the Seychelles International Airport on 8 October 2023 after she was found in possession of 874 grams of cocaine that she had swallowed.

Information from Seychelles indicates that after being arrested at the airport, Kawinga cooperated with the police of the country and indicated that she had been tricked into the business of illicit drugs because of poverty.

Kawinga is said to have told the police that she did not know that the business she was getting involved in concerned transporting drugs. She said that she was lied to that she would be involved in a legal business in Ethiopia.

From Ethiopia, she was transferred to Kenya where she was made to swallow the drug packets and was assured that she would not be arrested in Seychelles. However, that was never to be as she was nabbed at the airport.

When brought before court, Kawinga pleaded guilty without wasting the court’s time. In mitigation, however, she used the excuse of poverty claiming that she has 4 children in Malawi that she supports.

Kawinga asked the court for leniency saying that she had divorced with the husband of the kids and was the sole breadwinner, a fact that led to her vulnerability that she was used by the drug lords.

While acknowledging that she did not waste the court’s time by pleading guilty and also that she cooperated with investigations, the court still decided to impose a custodial sentence on her pointing out that drugs had a serious effect on communities.

The presiding judge therefore slapped her with 15 years without any possibility of parole.

Kawinga joins the list of other Malawian women facing various sentences from time in prison to capital punishment for being caught transporting drugs. Sources indicate that there is a cabal of drug lords that lure Malawian women with promises of riches before hooking them into the drug transporting business.


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