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Cocaine accused pleads not guilty

Cocaine accused pleads not guilty

Niël Terblanché

GRANT Noble and Azhar Dinath both entered a plea of not guilty during their latest appearance in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court earlier on Thursday but will have to stay behind bars until May next year while they wait to hear if the Prosecutor General decided if the matter will be prosecuted.

 

Noble and Dinath has been in police custody since June 2018 and stands accused of importing almost half a ton of cocaine into Namibia through the port of Walvis Bay in the weeks preceding their arrest.

 

During their previous appearance before Magistrate Rhivermo Williams, they were informed that the investigation into the matter has been finalised.

 

At the end of October this year State Prosecutor Maggy Shiyagaya informed the court that the investigating officer has obtained sworn affidavits from Brazil and that results of a forensic analysis of a smart phone have been obtained. The cellular phone was sent to Israel for the forensic analysis.

Pictured: Azhar Dinath and Grant Noble in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. – Photo: Niël Terblanché

At the end of October the accused persons were informed that at their next appearance they would be required to enter a plea in terms of section 199 of the Criminal Procedure act on the main charge of dealing in illicit dependence producing drugs and the alternative the possession of such illicit drugs.

 

During court proceedings on Thursday Noble answered that he pleads not guilty on all charges against him. Dinath entered the same plea on both the main and alternative charges.

 

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.

 

After entering their pleas of not guilty State Prosecutor Shiyagaya informed the court that the matter has to be postponed until May next year in order to give the Prosecutor General enough time to decide if the accused persons will be prosecuted.

 

Noble’s legal representative objected to the long postponement stating that his client and his co-accused has been in custody for almost one and a half year already. Jan Wessels stated that the state needs such a long time to complete their investigation.

 

Sheyagaya, however stated that the investigation is complete and that the case file needs to be studied by the Prosecutor General before a decision to prosecute can be made.

 

Magistrate Williams deferred Noble’s application to have the date set to January next year and ordered that the accused persons will have to return on 5 May 2020 to hear what the Prosecutor General’s decision was. She remanded both accused persons in custody until then.

 

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 380 tightly packed parcels hidden in boxes of A4 printer paper that originated in Brazil.

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