Nigerians’ drugs appeals rejected

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Two Nigerian nationals were brought to the court. Kim Sarom

The Supreme Court upheld the Appeal Court’s verdict on Wednesday in sentencing each of seven Nigerian nationals to 10 years in prison for their involvement in drug trafficking in Phnom Penh in 2014, after reviewing the case on June 26.

Presiding Judge Soeng Panhavuth said at the June 26 hearing that one of the convicted men, Me Johanudom, 52, admitted in court that he had delivered a black plastic bag to a man in Phnom Penh’s Sorya Mall in exchange for $200, but said he was unaware that there were drugs in the bag.

The other six Nigerian men claimed not to be involved in the case, but the police who detained them disagreed, Panhavuth said.

“In fact, the convicts gathered to plan the drug trafficking scheme,” he said.

Johanudom was seeking a sentence reduction while the others maintained their innocence.

According to the court report, the six other convicted men were identified as Okechukwu Ikefu Aku, 28, Samson Echowdo, 32, Oragwam Godwin Emeka, 32, Favour Ibezi Mako Oberta, 32, Thaddeus Ikechudwu Onyinechi, 37 and 42-year-old Ezigbo Gabriel Chukwueloka, who did not attend the hearing.

After detaining Johanudom, the police ordered him to take them to his apartment at Borey New World in Por Sen Chey district, near where the other six men were then also arrested.

Four men were detained at a restaurant operated by Echowdo – one of the convicts – while two more were apprehended on the roadside in Chaom Chao commune.

On September 18, 2015, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced each of the men to 10 years in prison and fined them 20 million riel (approximately $5,000) for illegal drug trafficking under Article 40 of the Law on Drug Control.