How a Tanzanian food vendor was jailed in Ghana for drug trafficking

24Feb 2018
James Kandoya
The Guardian
How a Tanzanian food vendor was jailed in Ghana for drug trafficking

A 45-year-old Tanzanian woman, Basaida Zena Jafary, has been sentenced to five years in jail in Ghana for trafficking a dangerous drugs cocktail worth over 150 million shillings into the West African country.

Ghana's Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) said it arrested Zena with 2.3 kilogrammes of speedball, a mixture of cocaine and heroin.

These narcotics mixtures are often more potent than the sum of their parts, through drug synergy, according to experts.

The Commissioner General of the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA), Rogers Siyanga, confirmed the arrest and conviction of the Tanzanian woman in Ghana for drug trafficking offences.

Zena, a food vendor based in Tanzania, arrived in Ghana recently at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) onboard Rwanda Air flight number ET 200. 

She was busted at the main airport in Ghana's capital, Accra, while going through arrival formalities.

A search conducted in her check-in luggage revealed a concealment of two parcels in false compartments of her luggage, a statement issued by NACOB said.

It said the content of the parcel proved positive for narcotics substance during preliminary test conducted in the presence of Zena.

The suspected narcotic substance were further forwarded to the Ghana Standards Authority for confirmation, which tested positive for narcotics weighing 2.3kg.

"On interrogation, Zena admitted ownership of the parcels and confessed that they were given to her by one Mandanje Omari in Tanzania to be delivered to someone in Accra for an undisclosed amount of money," according to media reports from Ghana.

When arraigned before court, Zena pleaded guilty to her offence and was subsequently handed a five-year prison sentence.

NACOB has meanwhile admonished the public to desist from delivering parcels on behalf of others, as it had been the conduit for trafficking narcotic drugs.

Siyanga told The Guardian that Zena travelled on Tanzanian passport number AB 409856.

He noted that a growing number of Tanzanians were being used as "drug mules" to transport narcotics by drug barons.

“There is intensive screening of passengers at our airports to check for drugs. We believe most of the drugs is being transported from our country by road, where the traffickers in turn board flights in neighbouring countries to their final destinations," he said.  

A Tanzanian man, Brayton Lyimo (31), was last week nabbed at New Delhi International Airport with heroin worth $156,000 (350 million shillings).

Two Tanzanians, a husband and wife, were also recently arrested in China for drug trafficking.

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