Shirat Nelwadda, a 24-year-old Ugandan woman accused of smuggling drugs into Liberia, will shortly be flown back to her home country, where she is expected to serve her four-year sentence.
She was sentenced to four years of imprisonment on Monday, April 14, by Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice, after he confirmed and affirmed a unanimous guilty verdict brought down against her by the trial’s jury on April 7.
Nelwadda was charged with multiple crimes; ranging from unlawful possession, trafficking and distribution of 1.2 kilograms of narcotic drugs valued at US$30,000 by the government, a charge she denies.
Announcing her sentence on Monday, Judge Dixon said, “It is the candid opinion of Criminal Court ‘C’ for Montserrado County, the Republic of Liberia, that the unanimous guilty verdict of the trial jury brought down against defendant Shirat Nelwadda for the alleged commission of the crime of unlawful possession, trafficking and distribution of narcotic drugs is hereby confirmed and affirmed.”
He further declared, “She is hereby adjudged guilty of the said crime, and further sentenced to imprisonment for a period of four consecutive years with immediate effect,” adding, “The defendant is hereby ordered to be deported from Republic of Liberia through diplomatic channels for her to serve her sentence in the Republic of Uganda.”
He quoted the law by saying, “Any person who sells narcotic drugs without the written prescription of a physician, dentist; or veterinarian, except as otherwise provided by the provisions, shall be guilty of felony of the first 1trse454 degree.”
He continued: “It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or have under his control any narcotic drugs except as authorized by Title 33, Chapter 41, Section 41.23, Sub-section 1 and 2, Section 41.24 Sub-section 1 of the Public Health Law of the Republic of Liberia.”
Before Nelwadda was sentenced, her lawyers during the entire case pleaded with the court to have her sent back to her country, Uganda, which they said would make it easier for her family to have access to her.
She was arrested on November 30, after she left Kampala, the capital city of Uganda and arrived at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) through Kenya Airways Flight number 508.
It was during security checking at the RIA that a parcel believed to contain the 1.2 kilograms of narcotics valued at US$30,000 was found in her travelling bag.
It was taken to the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and tested, apparently in her absence.