A Nigerian man was on Wednesday, April 5, sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after he was found to be involved in a case of drug trafficking.
Ferdinand Onovo was charged with conspiring for the purpose of selling or dealing in illegal drugs and participating in the act of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of an illegal act, including any preparatory acts (in this case his involvement in the delivery of cocaine)
The incident dates back to February 2008, when two men, one from Estonia, had boarded a plane from Tripoli, Libya to Malta with bags found to be carrying cocaine. Customs Department officials together with the police made the discovery, while the Estonian man, Aulis Zopp, cooperated with the police by agreeing to a controlled delivery to the accused.
Onovo was instructed to meet with Mr Zopp at a hotel in Sliema in order to receive the package. He had received instructions from a Nigerian man named Chukwudu Samuel Onyeabor, known as ‘Nokia’, to pick up the package from Mr Zopp and then wait for instructions to meet with Mr Onyeabor, who was residing in the Netherlands.
Mr Onyeabor was to get on a plane to Malta in order to pick up the package. While the accused had met with the Estonian man to pick up the cocaine, the police intercepted and arrested the accused. In turn, he agreed to another controlled delivery for the package to reach its intended buyer, Mr Onyeabor.
The parties involved had therefore conspired to import cocaine into Malta, and again export some of it to Norway. The cocaine amounted to 5,761g, and is said to have a street value of somewhere between €403,305 and €593,434.
The office of the Attorney General, as the prosecution, and the accused entered into a plea whereby should the courts find him guilty a term of imprisonment for ten years and a fine of €25,000 be imposed.
Madame Justice Dr Edwina Grima presiding over the case, found the accused guilty of all charged and chose to accept the plea entered into between the prosecution and the defence. He was also ordered to pay €3,397 in court expenses, the courts ordered the forfeiture of any moveable or immoveable property involved in the crimes and any property belonging to the accused, while the cocaine was ordered to be destroyed.