Reports reaching the Daily Observer have it that the Liberian government is yet to raise funds to send home a Ugandan woman, Shirat Nelwadda, where she is expected to complete a four-year jail-sentence.
Judge Blama Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’ in Monrovia, on Monday, April 14, sentenced Nelwadda to four years imprisonment, after confirming a unanimous guilty-verdict brought against her by a trial jury on April 7. She had been found guilty for smuggling into the country, 1.2 kilograms of heroin, valued at US$30,000.
He also instructed government to have her deported from Liberia through diplomatic channels, to serve her sentence in her native country, Uganda.
However, up until press time, it was still not clear whether protocol (procedure, practice, based on an agreement) between the two countries, protocol existed to making obligatory (compulsory, a must) the repatriation (send back, send home) of a convict from either country.
In addition, a judicial source on Thursday, April 24, told the Observer that government might not particularly relish dipping into its funds to send the young lady home to serve her jail term, as the Court seemed to prefer.”
Her lawyers had pleaded for no less, pointing out to the Court, that sending her home would make it easier for her family to have access to her.
According to our source, government has promised to make the funds available, but made it plain that “we don’t know when that will happen; we are hoping that it does happen very soon.”
Nelwadda was said to have flown out of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, arriving at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) by Kenya Airways Flight number 508. She was arrested on November 30, 2013, upon arrival.
It was during security check at the RIA, that a parcel believed to have contained 1.2 kilograms of narcotics, valued at US$30,000, was allegedly found in her travelling bag.
The drug was taken to the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and tested, apparently in her absence.
Later, following her testimony, Nelwadda claimed that she had been harassed by security at the RIA.