A Nigerian cocaine courier's appeal against an effective prison term of eight years has been dismissed.
Dismissing the appeal, two judges of the High Court in Windhoek said Namibia's courts have a duty to help combat international drug trafficking by imposing sentences which will make it clear that the country should not be seen as a safe haven for drug smugglers.
"The international trafficking in drugs between states and continents is not only a Namibian problem," Acting Judge Kobus Miller remarked in the judgement, with which Judge Collins Parker agreed.
Drug trafficking is an international problem, and the courts in Namibia have a duty to make it plain that when people are caught smuggling drugs within Namibia, the courts will do their part in the international fight against drug trafficking, Acting Judge Miller said.
The courts must not impose sentences that create an impression that Namibia is a safe haven that can be used for distributing drugs into the country and neighbouring states. This sentence will encourage drug law enforcement agencies involved in combating the international drug trade, the judge cautioned.
Acting Judge Miller made the remarks in a judgement that marked the failure of the appeal of Nigerian drug courier Chukwujekwu Nwoye Okaforudeji against the sentence which he received in the Windhoek Regional Court two years ago.
Okaforudeji, then 35 years old, was sentenced on August 20 2010 after he had pleaded guilty to a charge of dealing in dangerous dependence-producing drugs.
He admitted that he was caught at Hosea Kutako International Airport on February 25 2010 with just over one kilogram of cocaine, valued at N$513 000, in his stomach.
Okaforudeji also admitted that he was acting as a drug courier for an Angolan who had asked him to carry the cocaine from South America to Angola.
Magistrate Sarel Jacobs sentenced Okaforudeji to ten years' imprisonment, of which two years were conditionally suspended for a period of five years, leaving Okaforudeji with an effective jail term of eight years.
The magistrate adopted a balanced approach with regard to the sentence, Acting Judge Miller commented in the appeal judgement.
Defence lawyer Sisa Namandje, who represented Okaforudeji in the appeal, correctly did not pursue an argument that there had been misdirections on the part of the magistrate with the sentencing, the judge said.
Acting Judge Miller also said the appeal court did not find the sentence to be shockingly inappropriate, resulting in Okaforudeji's appeal dismissal.
State advocate Jack Eixab represented the State.