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Cocaine investigation takes on international flavour

Cocaine investigation takes on international flavour

Cocaine investigation takes on international flavour

Niël Terblanché

DETECTIVES of the Namibian Police still have to obtain statements from people residing overseas before the investigation into the actions of the two men accused of importing almost half a tonne of cocaine into Namibia can be finalised.

In the meantime, the accused persons, Grant Noble and Azhar Dinath, will have to languish in police custody until 30 May next year for their next appearance in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court.

The accused persons brought a formal bail application before the magistrate earlier this year but their bid to be freed on bail did not succeed because of the sensitive stage of the investigation into the matter.

During their most recent court appearance before Magistrate Rhivermo Williams, State Prosecutor Tresia Hafeni informed the court that the state is still waiting for witness statements from abroad. Hafeni also indicated that detectives are also awaiting forensic analysis of the cellular phones used by two accused persons during their arrest in the middle of June this year.

The state prosecutor stated that the outstanding evidence is crucial to the case before court before requesting the magistrate to postpone the case until 30 May 2019.

Noble and Dinath stands accused of importing 412 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of N$206 million in a shipping container. The container had its origin in Brazil and went via Cape Town before being offloaded in the Walvis Bay Harbour.

Customs officials with the aid of the Namibian Police arrested the container on the harbour premises and upon opening and searching through the boxes A4 printing paper, inside discovered more than 400 packages of cocaine.

During their formal bail application, both accused persons denied that they even knew of the existence of the cocaine inside the container. They also argued that they had plenty of time and many opportunities to flee from law enforcement had they known that the illicit drugs would be found inside the container.

The accused persons argued that they were simply attempting to start a new business venture by first importing and selling A4 printing paper and if all went well to expand the business of selling stationary at cheaper prices than what is locally available.

At the end of the formal bail application, the magistrate refused granting bail on the grounds of the seriousness of the matter and strength of the state’s case, the risk the accused persons pose in interfering with witnesses and the investigation, that the pose a flight risk as well as a strong public interest in the matter.

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