A Nigerian national based in Brazil, Ernest Nnajuiba Ukechukwu, was on Thursday, July 13, 2023 sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by an Accra High Court.

This was over possession and attempted smuggling of cocaine weighing 16,568.83 grams(16.56883kg) into Ghana at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) by officials of the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC).

He was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in hard labour and charged with a fine of Ten thousand penalty units, of which he will serve three additional years in default.

A statement, signed by Acting Director of Public Affairs, Francis Opoku Amoah, said the sentence is expected to run concurrently.

The convict was arrested by NACOC officials at the arrival hall of KIA on 11 December 2022 when he was going through arrival formalities.

Officials picked him up as part of their daily routine where his narrations were found to be distorting, leading to further checks on his luggage, revealing the concealed consignment in his luggage.

Mr Ukechukwu was arrested by officers of the Narcotics Control Commission and charged with six counts of narcotic offences relating to importation and possession of narcotic drugs, without lawful authority.

He was put before the Criminal Court Division of the Accra High Court, where he pleaded guilty to all six counts and was consequently convicted on his plea by the court presided over by Her Lordship Mary Ekue Yanzuh.

The Court also ordered the destruction of the exhibit which was carried out the same day by the investigators of NACOC in the presence of the court Registrar, State prosecutors and the defense counsel at about 1433hrs.

The Commission reiterates its commitment to upholding its mandate to protect the public from the trade and usage of illegal narcotics to maintain public safety, hence the facilitation of the sentencing.

The possession, use and transportation of illicit drugs without lawful authorization are still illegal and punishable under sections 40 (1) and 41 (1) of the Narcotics Control Commission Act 2020, (Act 1019).