Suspected drug dealing accused Grant Noble on Wednesday pleaded total ignorance of the drugs that were found in a container in which he imported copy paper from Brazil.
“I was shocked, I became dizzy. I could not believe what I was seeing when the police declared the packages contained cocaine,” Noble told the court. He said he only imported copy paper, and never expected that the consignment would be used to smuggle drugs. Noble further testified that the police had prior knowledge that there were drugs in the container following a tip-off from a certain Linekela as he discovered in affidavits in the State’s discovery that was never brough under the court’s attention.
According to the affidavits read into the record by Noble, Linekela had already brought it under the investigating officer’s attention that two white men tried to bribe a clearing agent to clear the container for a fee of N$500 000, and when that was refused, they upped the ante to N$2 million. The agent also submitted an affidavit in which he confirmed that information.
According to Noble (36), this information was never investigated by the police as they already had a scapegoat in himself and his co-accused, Dinath Azhar (62).
He refuted the assertions by the customs officials that the search was done according to customs procedures. He maintained that it was a police operation conducted by the police, and that customs officials only entered the fray at a later stage.
“When I arrived at the port after being hounded by the police, I was shown a warrant, and ordered to open the container by a member of the police. When I informed them that there was something wrong with the seal, I was told that if I do not open the container, I would be locked up until such time that I open the container”, which he then did.
“At first, they did not find anything, and some of the boxes were cleared and loaded into my bakkie. I managed to drive from there, but as it was the wrong gate, I had to return. It was then that they found the suspicious boxes, and I was told to remain there and was then arrested”, he told the judge. He further vehemently denied that he had any knowledge of the cocaine.
Noble further explained that the company through which they imported the copy paper in essence belongs to Azhar, but that he registered the company and opened a bank account for it in his name because Azhar owed people money, and did not want it known that he has money.
Noble and Azhar are charged with one count of dealing in cocaine. They are also charged with one count of money-laundering.
They were arrested on 15 June 2018 after a container they imported was found loaded with 412kg of cocaine worth an estimated N$206 million.
The cocaine was hidden between copy paper boxes the two had ordered from Brazil via Cape Town to Namibia through the Port of Walvis Bay. Azhar has in the meantime been released on bail of N$10 000 by Judge Orben Sibeya.