Government lawyers, from all indications, have reportedly blocked the deportation of Shirat Nalwadda, a Ugandan woman, who was convicted for the unlawful possession, trafficking and distribution of narcotic drugs in Liberia.
Nalwadda was issued a deportation order in early 2014, after Judge Blamo Dixon sentenced her to four years imprisonment, and ordered the government to ensure that she served her sentence in her homeland, Uganda.
Up to the present, the Liberian government is yet to comply with the court’s judgment. Instead it has transferred the convict from the Monrovia Central Prison to the Tubmanburg Central Prison, in Bomi County.
During Nalwadda’s sentencing, government lawyers were silent about Judge Dixon’s decision to have the convict serve her prison term in her home country.
“Instead of respecting the order of our court, the government chose to relocate her from one cell to another, which is disrespect to our justice system,” Atty. Elisha. T. Forkeyoh, one of the lawyers who represented Nalwadda, told the Daily Observer yesterday.
Atty. Forkeyoh said Nalwadda’s health has deteriorated, admitting, “I have not been there to visit her in her new cell, but a lawyer friend of mine, whom I asked to keep close attention to her, gave me that information.”
The attorney said Judge Dixon’s ruling was accepted to enable their client to serve her sentence in Uganda.
“We did not raise any issue with the court’s decision, even though we complained against the jury verdict that Judge Dixon relied on,” Atty. Forkeyoh further told this newspaper.
Besides, the defense attorney claimed, Newaldda’s family, including her mother and two sisters, had raised money to facilitate her deportation to Uganda.
“Her family members through email communications assured me that they were prepared to send any amount of money to have her deported, but I told them to hold on to the money until everything was finalized legally.
“When the court brought down the verdict her family asked me to send a copy to them which I did. Their lawyer also communicated with me and I gave him the verdict. I even gave the verdict to the Liberian Consul General in Uganda,” the lawyer said.
He continued: “All of our efforts have yielded no result and she is still languishing in jail in Liberia.”
Newaldda was arrested at the Roberts International Airport on November 30, 2013, with 1.2 kilograms of heroin valued at US$30,000 equivalent to L$2m in her possession upon her arrival from Kampala via Nairobi on board a Kenya Airways flight.
She told investigators that it was her first travel to Liberia and she had come to meet her boyfriend, identified only as Ekina whom she claimed she did not know in person. She said she was told by her girlfriend named Natutarya Laila in Zama, Kampala that Ekina would be at the airport to receive her.
According to court records, Newaldda indicated that upon her arrival at the RIA, and her subsequent arrest, she could not give the contact address or telephone number of the boyfriend.
Nalwadda was indicted by the grand jury of Montserrado County on December 11, 2013, during the February 2014 term of court.