Woman in court over heroin shipment

By Nancy Akinyi

A businesswoman appeared before a Kibera court charged with trafficking in heroin valued at over Sh21 million.

Scola Imbiti Namunyu alias Hilda Wangari Mwangi denied the charge before Senior Principal Magistrate Grace Nzioka. She will, however, remain in remand until next Thursday when the court rules on bond.

The charge read that on Tuesday at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi jointly with others not before court, she trafficked by importing 21,492.6gms of heroin with an estimated market value of Sh21,492,600.

She faced a second count of refusing to permit police officers take her fingerprints for record purposes.

Flee the country

In opposing her release on bond, the prosecution led by Chief Inspector Francis Ndiema told court there were chances the suspect would flee the country never to return given the stiff penalties on the offence.

"Your honour, this offence attracts a penalty three times the market value of the drug in question plus life imprisonment and the accused person will abscond proceedings on this ground," he said.

Mr Ndiema told court the suspect had given the investigating officer a rough time after she refused to have her finger prints taken and also declined to reveal her residence for further search.

"If she refused to cooperate while in the hands of the police, how will she cooperate when out on bond," asked Ndiema.

The court heard that the suspect refused to sign the certificate of sampling, weighing, notice of seizure and notice of intention to tender records in evidence of seized substances.

The prosecution said the suspect’s refusal to sign the mandatory documents was an indicator she was determined to frustrate efforts by police to dismantle the syndicate.

Head of anti-narcotic unit Addan Guyo swore an affidavit in court stating that releasing the suspect on bond would interfere with police efforts to combat drug trafficking and abuse, which are rampant and a threat to lives of citizens.

Defence advocates Nelson Oundu and Cliff Ombeta opposed the prosecution application and urged the court to release their client on bond.

Abscond proceedings

The advocates argued the prosecution failed to table before court evidence to the effect that the suspect would abscond proceedings.

On the issue of refusing to cooperate with police, the advocates argued that their client was not under any obligation to sign the alleged documents, adding that police could have been tactful to know the residence of the suspect instead of demanding that they be taken there.

"A bond is a constitutional right to the accused person and the prosecution has not advanced any good reason why the same should be denied other than pegging their arguments on imaginary syndicates," said Mr Ombeta.