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Daily Monitor | China Executes Ugandans Over Drug Trafficking Offences!

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Posted July 2, 2014 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Featured ~ 3,056 views

     

John Lee, head of Customs Drug Investigation Bureau, speaks in front of packs of cocaine seized in Hong Kong

Chinese authorities have executed two Ugandans convicted of trafficking narcotics, the Foreign Affairs ministry has announced.
Ministry spokesperson Fred Opolot yesterday identified the convicts as Omar Ddamulira and Ham Andrew Ngobi.

“Ddamulira was executed on May 21, 2014 while Ngobi was killed last week (June 24),” he said. “Their bodies were cremated but we have initiated talks with the Chinese government to return the ashes to their families.”

Mr Opolot said the two men’s families were allowed to talk to them on phone before they were executed.
By June 2012, Uganda’s embassy in China had compiled a list of 23 Ugandans who had been sent on death row in China over drug trafficking while another 22 were serving life in jail over similar offences.

Uganda’s Ambassador to China, Mr Charles Wagidoso, said most Ugandans caught in the drugs trade, which is banned in many countries, are mere conduits of bigger players. The diplomat said their investigations showed that most of the mules (people transporting drugs) were paid an average of $5,000 (about Shs12 million) for each mission.

Part of the money, Mr Wagidoso said, is paid before undertaking the assignment while the rest is offered upon successful delivery of the illicit drugs.

Whereas China is known for tough sanctions on drug traffickers, many of the Ugandan suspects have had their death sentences commuted to life in prison or long jail terms on grounds that they are not professionals but victims of tough economic circumstances.

Explaining why then the two Ugandans could have been served the toughest sentence, Mr Opolot said it could have been about how much drugs were found in their possession.
“The Chinese did not avail us with details on how much drugs were found on the suspects but that could have been a key determinant of the sentence. It could also be that China is recording an increased number of such cases and therefore wanted to take stern action,” he told the Daily Monitor.

In 2009, China sparked a diplomatic row with UK and the European Union when it executed a British national, Akmal Shaikh, who was found in possession of four kilogrammes of heroin. The UK claimed Shaikh was mentally ill but China insisted he had no record of a mental illness.

Yesterday, Mr Opolot warned that cases of drug trafficking among Ugandans were on the rise and cautioned those involved to be wary of grave punishment in some countries.

“The ministry wishes to inform and warn that drug trafficking is a serious crime worldwide attracting grave punishment. Further the ministry urges all our citizens travelling abroad not to indulge themselves in such crimes to avoid the grace consequences they attract,” Mr Opolot said.

In April, 24-year-old Shirat Nalwadda was convicted in Liberia for trafficking 1.2kgs of heroin worth Shs120 million. Nalwadda, who was the first foreigner to be convicted of possession of narcotic drugs in Liberia, claimed that she was used by a Nigerian trafficker. She is serving a 10-year jail term.

Ms Grace Akullo, the director Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate, says drug traffickers use Uganda because the punishments are lenient once arrested. She said of all the 52 cases they registered last year, 49 traffickers pleaded guilty and they paid total fines of Shs35m before marching to freedom.

“Shs35 million fine doesn’t match the drugs worth Shs109 billion they were carrying. If our laws were like those of Kenya where they are fined thrice the cost of contraband, they would feel the pinch,” Ms Akullo said.

abagala@ug.nationmedia.com


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

One Comment


  1.  
    Amooti

    So what is our government doing about this? Once drugs get deeply entrenched into our society then we will have a bigger problem that can never be solved given systemic corruption we have in the the country. This is a serious issue and law should be enacted to slow down this evil.





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