Two alleged drug dealers, who were arrested in June 2018 after a container they had imported was found loaded with 412 kilogrammes of cocaine worth an estimated N$206 million, yesterday pleaded not guilty to all charges against them in the Windhoek High Court. “Innocent my Lord.”
This is what Grant Noble (36) and Dinath Azhar (62) answered when State prosecutor Salomon Kanyemba put the charges to them. Their lawyer Sisa Namandje confirmed the pleas and proceeded to read a 14-page plea explanation into the record in which he informed Windhoek High Court Judge Orben Sibeya his clients will object to the admissibility of all the evidence emanating from the search warrant used. According to the statement, the charges preferred against them are bad in law and in fact may as well be disposed of in their favour on a number of legal grounds. Firstly, they said, the State did not make out a case for either of them to be personally criminally liable for acts that were allegedly committed in the furtherance of corporate activities of Zeeki Trading, the company allegedly used to smuggle in the drugs. He further claimed the State is also wrong to charge Azhar while he is not a member of the corporate identity that allegedly committed the offence and that it is in conflict with a bidding decision of the Supreme Court which states that not every employee of a corporate body can be liable for offences committed. He further said they will object to the evidence allegedly obtained from a search warrant. “We will object on both counts during this trial to any attempt by the State to produce and tender any evidence or information that was obtained during and from the unlawful search of the container on the basis that the search warrant used was invalid as it was vague, overbroad, did not identify a person to be searched, did not specify the offence committed, did not specify a particular offence, did not specify a suspected person and was ambiguous as to the exact place that was to be searched.” He also said they will object to any evidence obtained by the police as it was irregularly obtained as well as the bail proceedings in the magistrate court as it contains objectionable evidence obtained on the basis of an invalid search and seizure warrant and through an unlawful search and seizure. They further said that should the court, despite their objections, allow the evidence, they deny that they had any knowledge of any contraband in the container. They further put the State to the proof of unbroken chain of custody and to prove that the container was not tampered with on its way from Brazil. With regards to the count of money laundering, the accused said, the State failed to identify a property which was the proceeds of unlawful activities. According to them, the alleged 412kg of cocaine powder cannot be conceived as a property in respect of which they would have entered into an agreement, arrangement or transaction for purposes of concealing the nature thereof. According to them, the charge is incompetent and bad. Noble and Azhar have been in police custody since 15 June 2018. The cocaine was hidden between copy paper boxes the two ordered from Brazil via Cape Town to Namibia through the port of Walvis Bay. The trial continues today.