SINGAPORE: When his friend from secondary school asked him for help in obtaining cannabis, a man agreed and asked his contact for assistance.

The contact was nabbed by Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers after making the transaction with a Malaysian man at a hospital car park.

Singaporean Mohamed Rafi Mohamed Salleh, who agreed to help his friend get the drugs, was sentenced to seven years' jail and seven strokes of the cane in March last year.

However, his application to file an appeal after the deadline was up was granted only in May 2023.

According to a judgment made available on Friday (Jun 9), Rafi, 41, was convicted of two charges: One of conspiring with Amy Ng Gim Hui to traffic in 162.93g of cannabis, and one count of methamphetamine consumption.

The court heard that Rafi was a freelance business consultant and worked at an office building in Raffles Place. 

His secondary school friend, 38-year-old Singaporean Nur Diana Abdul Rashid, also worked at the same building.

On May 21, 2018, Diana called Rafi to ask if he could get 100g of cannabis for her. After negotiating, it was agreed that Diana would buy 500g of cannabis from Rafi for S$3,500 (US$2,603).

The next day, Rafi contacted Ng, a 39-year-old Singaporean woman, to help him obtain the cannabis.

Ng then arranged to collect the cannabis from her supplier, 32-year-old Malaysian Sri Ranjit Kanaseng.

Ng drove to Ng Teng Fong Hospital on May 23, 2018, where she met Ranjit at the car park. Ranjit passed Ng a black bundle and she gave him an envelope containing S$2,150.

After the exchange, Ng drove away but was arrested by CNB officers that same day and the black bundle was seized from her vehicle.

On Jun 2, 2020, CNB officers raided a flat in Bukit Batok and arrested Rafi. Urine samples taken from him were positive for meth.

The prosecution pointed out that Rafi had planned the drug transaction in a way that distanced himself as far as possible from the actual delivery and collection of the cannabis. He also tried to conceal evidence by hiding his SIM card beneath the inner sole of his shoe when arrested.

Rafi's lawyer, Mr Andre Jumabhoy, said his client was remorseful and regretted what was "a stupid act" in a misguided attempt at helping his friend.

The lawyer said Rafi had not benefitted from the transaction, but would be paying a very steep price.

He set out Rafi's good character, such as his active charity work in sponsoring and organising meal distributions for residents and his side beancurd business that employed people with disabilities and ex-offenders.

Mr Jumabhoy also showed that Rafi was a volunteer tutor coaching students from low-income Muslim families and was a representative of the Singapore Business Federation, visiting Iraq and Iran in 2013 to preserve banking relationships between countries.

Rafi is currently serving his jail term but has lodged an appeal against his sentence.

The punishment for abetment of drug trafficking is between five and 20 years' jail, and between five and 15 strokes of the cane.

For drug consumption, the penalties are between a year and 10 years' jail, and a fine of up to S$20,000.

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