Pubdate: Sat, 22 Sep 2007
Source: Pretoria News, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2007 The Pretoria News
Author: Graeme Hosken and Sarah Barraclough


Anti-drug organisations, police and private investigators have 
slammed the "abysmal" suspended sentence handed down by a Midrand 
magistrate to a Nigerian narcotics manufacturer.

Adam Chifulo, also known as Kenneth Ozomadu, was given a six-year 
sentence, suspended for five years, after pleading guilty before 
magistrate Tefo Myambo to manufacturing crystal meth.

Crystal meth, commonly known as "tik", has been described by law 
enforcement officials and drug fighters as South Africa's new drug scourge.

The maximum sentence that can be given for manufacturing and dealing 
in drugs is 25 years in jail.

Pretoria police arrested Chifulo on May 17 at a house in Midrand 
while he was "cooking" up tik.

Tik, chemicals and equipment used in the manufacturing of the drug - 
to the value of more than R200 000 - were seized during the raid.

Police also confiscated two forged Zambian and Nigerian passports.

Police and anti-drug campaigners said the drug was wreaking havoc 
among the youth in the Western Cape and and tightening its grip on Gauteng.

Randburg senior public prosecutor Pieter Erasmus, under whose 
jurisdiction the Midrand magistrate's court falls, confirmed the 
suspended sentence handed down by Myambo. He said he would be 
studying the judgement and the sentence to decide whether to appeal.

"If we decide to appeal, I will refer the matter to the Director of 
Public Prosecutions."

Erasmus said he still did not know what Myambo's reasons were for 
handing down a suspended sentence.

Reacting to the sentence, Sanca anti-drugs campaigner Tania Kapp said 
it was an inappropriate sentence. Tik was an extremely dangerous drug 
that could kill people, she said.

"We need to be getting the message out there that tik is bad news and 
that it has serious consequences for those who use it. This is 
definitely not the way to do so," she said.

Pretoria private investigator Mike Bolhuis also decried the court's 
decision, saying it was abysmal and atrocious. "This will send out a 
bad message to drug dealers, manufacturers and users.

"It says that crime is worthwhile. It says you can commit a crime 
because you will not do time."

Bolhuis said that suspended sentence showed the judicial system up 
for what it was. "It is clear that the judicial system does not care 
about this country's future.

"This man has probably destroyed lives through his activities and now 
he has been let off scot free to continue killing. Drug dealers and 
manufactures need to be sentenced to life in imprisonment," Bolhuis said.

Tshwane Metro Police drug unit commander Superintendent Mark Newham 
said the sentence confirmed that the justice system did not see drugs 
and drug-related crimes as a serious problem. "Tik is one of the 
biggest drug crises South Africa is facing. You just need to look at 
what the drug is doing to especially children. Tik is bad because it 
induces aggressiveness, which is why criminals use it before they 
commit crimes," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart