Trial of Nigerian woman over drug trafficking reopens

The specialised chamber for international crimes at the High Court on Tuesday reopened a case involving a Nigerian woman who was arrested at Kigali International Airport over drug trafficking, two years ago.

The specialised chamber for international crimes at the High Court on Tuesday reopened a case involving a Nigerian woman who was arrested at Kigali International Airport over drug trafficking, two years ago.

Priscilla Duru was arrested by Rwanda Police in October 2016 as she tried to smuggle1.3 kilogrammes of heroin through Kigali en route to Nigeria.

Prosecution accused Duru of drug trafficking, but she denied the claims arguing that she was given the bag by a Tanzanian woman and didn’t know that the bag contained heroin.

The defendant said that she was asked by a “family friend” who owns a pharmacy in Nigeria to carry for him a bag with a certain medicine called Ephedrine and even paid for her air ticket and hotel accommodation in Kigali.

This was after she had approached him for help because she needed to cater for her children after losing her husband, she claimed.

Duru begged for leniency adding that if she knew that she had been given the drugs, she would have alerted the police before leaving Kigali.

Apparently the Tanzanian woman who delivered the bag to Rwanda disappeared after delivering the package to Duru. She allegedly left the hotel during the night without the accused noticing.

Although at the time of her arrest, Duru claimed she didn’t know what she was carrying, when she appeared in court in January, 2017, she admitted that she was carrying heroin and begged for mercy.

Judge Alice Rulisa said that the court reopened the case after establishing that prosecution had provided contradicting information about the kilogrammes of heroin that the suspect was carrying.

However, Eric Nkwaya, representing the prosecution, clarified to the judge that police weighed 3.9 kilogrammes and thereafter another policeman assigned to the case weighed the narcotic at 1.3 kilogrammes.

The High Court is expected to pronounce itself on this case on February 15.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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