Ephedrine Trial Delayed Again

The expected start of the trial dubbed ‘the ephedrine trial’ was delayed again on Tuesday, because both the prosecution and the defence were not available.

The case already had its fair share of hiccups and was supposed to have started in September last year already. Twenty six-year-old Zimbabwean national, Pricilla Masa and 38-year-old South African national Sisa Heather Buthelezi have been in custody on charges of dealing in or possession of the potentially dangerous dependence producing drug – ephedrine, since their arrest in December 2012.

The third alternative charge, which is the importation of medicine without medicatory authorisation, was withdrawn by the state at an earlier appearance.

At the time Vetu Uanivi, who represents the accused told New Era he seriously considered pleading guilty on the medicine charge, but that after the state’s turnaround he aised his clients against that.

The case has been postponed numerous times for varying reasons and now again until July 08 when it will hopefully get out of the starting blocks. Magistrate Ingrid Unengu postponed the matter on request of prosecutor Nasilele Siyambango, who stood in for her colleague Kandiwapa Nangombe.

Masa and Buthelezi are incarcerated at Walvis Bay prison since Masa who was pregnant at the time she was arrested gave birth to a baby boy while in custody. Ephedrine is one of the main ingredients used in the making of flu medicines and appetite suppressants and is also a sought after ingredient in the making of habit forming drugs such as ‘tik’ – a highly addictive drug popular in the Western Cape and ecstasy, a drug popular with nightclub patrons. The suspects were apprehended two years ago at a guesthouse in Windhoek after apparent suspicious behaviour on their part was communicated to the police.

When the drug squad arrived at the guesthouse a search yielded 20.1kg of the drug concealed in the hidden compartments of their luggage.

It is alleged Masa was in possession of 9.930kg of the substance, while Buthelezi is said to have been in possession of 10.260kg of the substance, which combined is valued at around N$10 million.

Source : New Era