By VUYILE DLAMINI | 2020-02-07
A mother of five with the youngest being a year old, is set to spend 30 years in prison for having been found to have obtained over 200 abortion tablets.
This is after she forged over 14 prescriptions in order to acquire them.
41-year-old Celucolo Gaolaolwe had been in the business of selling Cytotec pills, popularly known as abortion pills, to expectant mothers who wished to terminate their pregnancies.
Having been in the illegal trade for a period of 10 years, Gaolaolwe sold each pill for E150, a price which saw women, most of whom were penniless and desperate, pay with the sole purpose of terminating their pregnancies.
While passing her monumental judgment at the Municipal Council of Mbabane offices yesterday, Principal Magistrate Fikile Nhlabatsi stated that in the interest of society, the offence committed by Gaolaolwe was a promoting an illegal act.
“The tablets Gaolaolwe obtained and sold were used to induce abortions to those that obtained them. It cannot be ignored that abortion is illegal in the kingdom, hence she was promoting an illegal act,” the judicial officer said.
Gaolaolwe was accused of having contravened the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act, when she was found to have been in possession of 20 Cytotec tablets without a license or permit. She further forged seven out-patient prescriptions, purporting to have been issued to her by Mbabane Government Hospital medical practitioners, including Doctors N. Malambe, Mncedisi, Andiswa Nkosi, Ivy J. Dlamini, S. Nkosi, M. Dlamini and MSD.
In her quest to obtain the tablets, Gaolaolwe approached Sound Health Pharmacy in Matsapha on seven occasions between July 2017 and September 2019, where she produced the forged prescriptions to Marcel Leon Martin Smith. Between July 2017 and September 2019, Gaolaolwe produced prescriptions for 30 Cytotec tablets on each occasion, meaning that in total, she received over 200 Cytotec tablets.
These tablets were sold and distributed to her clients, who are alleged to have been textile workers based in Matsapha.
As Gaolaolwe had admitted that she sold each tablet for E150, this would mean she made over E31 000 from her illicit trade.
Before her sentence was passed, Gaolaolwe pleaded for leniency stating that she was a mother of five.
“I have learnt my lesson as I am a mother of five. I am unemployed and I was only attempting to make means to survive so that I could continue to maintain the well-being of my children. I would not know what would happen to my children if I were to be incarcerated for a long time, and I promise not to commit a similar offence again,” Gaolaolwe pleaded. After hearing her mitigation, Gaolaolwe was sentenced to serve two years in prison for each of the 15 counts, with the option to pay a fine of E3 000 for each count. In total, she will serve 30 years in a correctional facility, with the option to pay a fine of E45 000.
According to the country’s constitution, abortion is unlawful but might be allowed on medical or therapeutic grounds, including where a doctor certifies that the continued pregnancy will endanger the life or constitute a serious threat to the physical health of the woman.
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