Taxi driver fined P4000 for cocaine

SHARE   |   Sunday, 31 August 2014   |   By Shingirai Madondo
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Francistown magistrate Dumisani Basupi last Friday sentenced a taxi driver to a fine of P4 000 for possessing the habit forming drug in the form of cocaine.

36-year-old Howard Nyikambaranda of Newstands location at Tatisiding village – some 15km south of Francistown – had pleaded not guilty to a single count of unlawful possession of a habit forming drug in the form of cocaine resulting in a full blown trial.

Eventually, the court proved that on October 3 2011 near Tatisiding village in the northeastern part of the country, Nyikambaranda was found in possession of the habit forming drug in the form of cocaine.

Nyikambaranda is not authorized, licensed or exempted to possess cocaine under the Section 5 of the Drugs and Related Substances Act.

He was found in possession of cocaine weighing 7.6408 gramms with a street value of not less than P10 000 by plain clothes police officers at Tatisiding village following a tip off.

When sentencing Nyikambaranda, Basupi took into consideration that the convict was a first offender and a family man. The fact that the accused is of  ill health was also taken into consideration after he told the court in mitigation that he was having a lung problem.

However, the magistrate was quick to point out that the prevalence of habit forming substances in his jurisdiction was high.
Basupi then imposed a P4 000 fine on Nyikambaranda. He ordered that the fine should be paid by the 29th of August this year. Failure to pay the fine on the set date, Basupi ordered that the convict will serve a two-year prison term.

During trial, it was established Nyikambaranda was busted by the police near Tatisiding village. they had pretended to be potential clients looking for drugs.

Upon noticing that they were police officers, the court heard that Nyikambaranda dropped a transparent plastic packet stuffed with whitish and powdered material that the officers suspected to be cocaine.