The Senior Resident Magistrates’ Court in Lilongwe has sentenced a Nigerian national Alex Ojuku to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour for human trafficking.
Court and police statements show that Ojuku trafficked 20-year-old Riyard Randeree between April and May 2018.
The court through state prosecutor under the office of Director of Public Prosecutions Eunice Ndingo heard that between April and May 2018, Ojuku trafficked Randeree and fled with him to Brazil with dangerous drugs without the consent of his parents.
In a statement, Lingadzi Police Publicist Salome Zgambo explained that Ndingo told the court that Ojuku made the victim swallow the drugs before escorting him to Kamuzu International Airport and gave him K 2 million, cash.
According to Zgambo, Randeree died in Brazil due to delay in ejecting the swallowed drugs.
She says Ndingo asked for the court to hand out a stiff punishment, because the accused person planned the crime meticulously and that it has taken over 2 years for the case to be finalised.
The state proved that all the elements of recruiting, transporting and intentions, were aimed at exploiting the young man and enticing him into illegal dealings.
Ojuku firstly pleaded not guilty to the charges which prompted the state to parade 6 witnesses.
In mitigation Ojuku aged 60, who hails from Imo state in Nigeria told the court that his family had been affected during his time in remand, therefore asked for the court’s leniency.
Passing her judgment, Senior Resident Magistrate Shyreen Yona Chirwa concurred with the state, stressing that Ojuku’s act was very serious in nature.
Chirwa said that the maximum sentence for the offense he committed is life imprisonment, but she said that she will consider mitigating factors given by the accused person by showing remorse and being apologetic.
She then sentenced the accused to 12 years imprisonment, but then reduced it to 10 years imprisonment with hard labor.
In the past 2 years, the country has been registering an increase in cases of drug abuse, especially in Area 47, Lilongwe, where the offense happened.
The offense of trafficking in persons is contrary to Section 14 subsection 1 of the Trafficking in Persons Act of 2015.