A forty six (46) year old Zambian woman has been sentenced to five years Imprisonment in Ethiopia for trafficking in narcotic drugs.
Ms. Penelope Munge of Itawa Ndola was sentenced on 21st June, 2022 for being in possession of 2.2 kg of Cocaine, which was inserted in her private part and some implanted in her body.
Embassy of the Republic of Zambia in Ethiopia, Charge D’ Affaires, Mr. Trevor Sichombo who confirmed the development, said Ms. Munge was arrested on 11th April, 2022 at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia while on transit to Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mr. Sichombo says facts on the matter indicate that Ms. Munge collected the drugs from an unnamed gentleman at unidentified Hotel in Addis Ababa, for delivery to a Mr. Douglas in South Africa, who is believed to have paid for her air ticket.
In her Mitigation, Ms. Munge pleaded for leniency saying she was a first offender and had responsibilities of taking care of her children because she was a divorcee. She further stated that she had a chronic illness (Hypertension) that needed consistent medical attention.
But in passing judgment, the Ethiopian High Court observed that cases of drug trafficking had become common and were posing a danger to society hence the need to impose custodian sentence on offenders in order to deter others from committing the crime.
Ms. Munge will be eligible for release on Governments pardon after serving half of her sentence, which is two years six months as per Ethiopia laws, if she conducts herself well in prison. The offence of trafficking in Cocaine carries a maximum sentence of 7 years imprisonment and a fine of about two hundred US dollars.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sichombo had called for enhanced awareness campaigns among Zambian travellers considering that the Ethiopian Government has heightened surveillance measures to curb drug trafficking in view of increased cases.
He called for more sensitization against Zambians being used as conduits to transport unknown parcels.
Issued by Mrs. Inutu Mupango Mwanza
First Secretary-Press &Tourism
Zambia Embassy, Addis Ababa