Three people including two customs officers and an Air Namibia attendant have been sentenced to at least 10 years imprisonment following their conviction on drug related charges.
The convicts – Sydney Bilankulu, Courdel Khoza and Thabo Dikgale – were found guilty of dealing in drugs, possession of drugs and defeating the ends of justice and sentenced in the Alexandra Magistrates’ court.
According to a National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) statement, a fourth convict Oscar Osigwe, entered a plea and sentence agreement and was sentenced to eight years in jail in 2017.
The NPA explained that in 2016, Osigwe arrived at OR Tambo International Airport with some 1295.8 grams of cocaine in the form of plastic wrapped bullets he had swallowed.
“Osigwe told the court that a Nigerian man in Brazil had given him the drugs and bought him a ticket to South Africa. He further told the court that the Nigerian man said that there would be people at the ORTIA, who would be waiting for him and that his identity was already shared with these people.
“On arrival, while he was waiting in the queue, he was told to stand aside by two SARS customs officials [Khoza and Dikgale].
“Whilst searching for him, he was informed by Dikgale that they had been waiting for him. They thereafter went with Osigwe, to a hotel where his sim card was replaced with a new sim card that would be used to communicate with him after he had excreted the drugs. They gave him instructions on where to drop off the bag with drugs after the excretion was completed,” the statement read.
An on-duty police officer at the airport, Sergeant Nathan Govender, subsequently received a tip-off about Osigwe and the cocaine he had brought into the country.
“[Govender] gathered a team that went to the hotel where Osigwe had checked in. On arrival, they questioned Osigwe, who agreed that he had excreted 71 of the drugs and 18 were still inside his stomach.
“Osigwe received a call from the accused to move to the drop-off point, where he was followed by the team. He handed the bag of cocaine to Bilankulu who was together with Dikgale and Khoza and they were all arrested,” the statement said. – SAnews.gov.za