Two South African women have been arrested with cocaine at Entebbe International Airport.
According to police, Ms Abigail Nkcosolwana Funiwe and Ms Grace Onyia Golile were arrested on November 19 and 21 respectively as they tried to leave Uganda for South Africa with the drugs.
Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson Mr Emilian Kayima said Onyia was carrying 3,783 grammes of cocaine valued at Shs259 million while Nkcosolwana was carrying 856 grammes valued at Shs56 million concealed and parked at the bottom of their luggage bags.
The two are being held at Entebbe Airport Police pending further investigations.
Police say the two were arrested after security officers at Entebbe airport noticed they were behaving suspiciously.
Authorities say drug traffickers use Uganda because the punishments are lenient once arrested.
For instance all the 52 cases police registered in 2013, 49 traffickers pleaded guilty and they paid total fines of Shs35m before marching to freedom.
In 2014, Chinese authorities executed two Ugandans convicted of trafficking narcotics.
Omar Ddamulira was executed on May 21, 2014 while Ham Andrew Ngobi was killed on June 24.
Uganda’s Ambassador to China, Mr Charles Wagidoso then said most Ugandans caught in the drugs trade, which is banned in many countries, are mere conduits of bigger players. The diplomat said their investigations showed that most of the mules (people transporting drugs) were paid an average of $5,000 (about Shs12 million) for each mission.
Part of the money, Mr Wagidoso said, is paid before undertaking the assignment while the balance is offered upon successful delivery of the illicit drugs.
Whereas China is known for tough sanctions on drug traffickers, many of the Ugandan suspects have had their death sentences commuted to life in prison or long jail terms on grounds that they are not professionals but victims of tough economic circumstances.
In April, 24-year-old Shirat Nalwadda was convicted in Liberia for trafficking 1.2kgs of heroin worth Shs120 million. Nalwadda, who was the first foreigner to be convicted of possession of narcotic drugs in Liberia, claimed that she was used by a Nigerian trafficker. She is serving a 10-year jail term.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
The Transfer of Convicted Offenders Act passed in 2012 empowers the minister “in appropriate cases to extend the provisions of this Act to countries not in the Commonwealth,” but it is limited by the fact that Chinese anti-drug laws do not correspond with those in Uganda.
The Act amends the provision of Penal Code Act that does not offer deterrent sentence for offenders.