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Cocaine case postponed again

Cocaine case postponed again

Niël Terblanché
DETECTIVES of the Namibian Police investigating the case where Grant Noble and Azhar Dinath stands accused of importing almost half a ton of cocaine into Namibia through the port of Walvis Bay during June last year, are still waiting for statements from Brazil and a the results of a forensic analysis of a smart phone before they can conclude their inquiries into the matter.

Pictured: Grant Noble and Azhar Dinath. – Photo: File

Noble and Dinath made another appearance before the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday after almost a year in custody. Since their arrest in June 2018 the accused persons brought two formal bail applications but failed to convince the presiding magistrate in Walvis Bay as well as a judge in the High Court in Windhoek to set them free on bail.
During Noble and Dinath’s latest appearance in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court the state prosecutor informed the court that investigations into the matter has not yet been completed. Maggy Shiyagaya-Lotto stated in court that the investigating officer still awaits sworn statements from parties in Brazil as well as the forensic analysis of a smart phone believed to contain important information that would help the police in their investigation. The cellular phone was sent to Israel for the forensic analysis.
The state prosecutor requested the court for a further postponement of the matter until the end of October this year and stated that due to the complexity and magnitude of the case more time would be needed for the police to finalise their investigation.
Noble’s legal representative, Jan Wessels, argued against the further postponement of the case. He argued that one of the objections to bail was that the accused persons would interfere with witnesses and that after the court has been informed that the Namibian part of the investigation was concluded that there was no further reason to keep his client in custody.
The legal representatives further requested the court to consider the fact that the accused persons are entitled to a fair and speedy trial. They also questioned the need for five more months of incarceration while the police investigates further while almost a year has passed since the clients were arrested..
Noble and Dinath applied to the court to transfer them back to Walvis Bay and Swakopmund to be closer to their families while in custody.
Before remanding the accused persons in custody for their next appearance in court on 31 October this year Magistrate Rhivermo Williams ordered that the accused persons be transferred back to holding cells at the coast while they await trial.
The arrest of the 36-year-old Noble and the 62-yer-old Dinath in June last year caused an uproar from Namibian society when it became known that 412 kilograms of cocaine worth N$206 million was discovered in a shipping container in the port of Walvis Bay. The cocaine was found in several tightly packed parcels hidden in boxes of A4 printer paper that originated in Brazil.

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