Ghanaian couple, other Africans face drug smuggling charges in Philippines

Five African nationals including two Ghanaians believed to be a couple, have been charged formally by the Bureau of Customs in Philippines for alleged smuggling illegal drugs into that country, media reports say.

According to the Manila Bulletin news publication March 22, 2012, the nationals – Lina Achieng Noah, a Kenyan woman; Josephine Balikuddembe, a Ugandan woman; Aicha Camara, a six-month pregnant woman from Guinea; and couple Joseph Yao Kyeremateng and Hamshawu Sulemana from Ghana, were charged before the country’s Department of Justice.

They were charged for violation of certain provisions of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act and the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines.

They were caught by customs authorities for allegedly smuggling 25 kilos of methampethamine hydrochloride also known as “shabu” at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the report said.

Noah arrived from Dubai on February 24 with nine kilos of “shabu” while Balikuddembe had three kilos of the same illegal drugs concealed in her luggage.

Weeks after, Camara and couple Kyeremeteng and Sulemana brought into the country some 13 kilos of “shabu”.

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, according to the Manila Bulletin, said they could all be members of an international drug syndicate who have tried establishing its network in that country.

“We will never allow the country to be used as a transshipment point for international drug syndicates, much more make it a market for their illegal drugs trade,” Biazon was quoted as saying.

By Ekow Quandzie

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