55kg khat lands man in trouble

A 24-YEAR-OLD man — Sithandazile Mutemachani — has found himself in trouble after he was accused of importing 55kg of khat into the country and intending to export it to the United States (US). 

Khat is a leafy green plant containing two main stimulant drugs, which speed up one’s mind and body. 

Their main effects are similar to, but less powerful than, amphetamine (speed). Khat is used mostly in North East Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. 

The United States of America Drug Enforcement Administration classifies khat as a stimulant drug and its possession attracts a felony charge. 

Mutemachani was not asked to plead to allegations of unlawful dealing in a dangerous drug when he appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court yesterday and he was remanded in custody to today for bail ruling. 

The state told the court that on December 7, detectives got wind that Mutemachani had imported suspected dangerous drugs, which were declared as green tea and that the contraband was at Zimpost Harare Central Sorting Office. 

The detectives went to the post office where a sample of the green tea was collected and taken to the government’s laboratory for examination. 

The court heard that on December 16, 2021 a report from the government analyst confirmed that the sample tested positive of khat. 

Mutemachani was called the following day to collect his package and he was told that the contraband was not green tea, but khat. 

The contraband was weighed at Zimpost in his presence and it weighed 55.5 kilogrammes with a value of $260 000. 

He was issued with a notice of seizure by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority seizing the contraband and he was arrested. 

Detectives searched Mutemachani and it was discovered that he had already prepaid to export some of the khat to the US.