WINDHOEK - The two men charged in Namibia’s largest ever cocaine bust have approached the Windhoek High Court to appeal the refusal of Walvis Bay magistrate, Ilge Rheent to release them on bail pending the finalisation of their ongoing trial.
Grant Noble, 36, and South African citizen Dinath Azhar, 62, were arrested on June 15 last year on a charge of dealing, alternatively being in possession of 412kg of cocaine with a street value of N$206 million after the drugs were found in a container belonging to them.
The container was supposed to carry copy papers they imported from Brazil through their company Zeeki Trading.
During their bail hearing last year, Noble and Azhar claimed they had no idea there was drugs in the container and that they ordered copy papers worth N$217 000 from Brazil.
During her ruling on the bail application, Magistrate Rheent said that while both accused has strong ties to Namibia and are not flight risks, nor are they likely to interfere in the investigations, the fact that the state has a strong case and the immense public interest in the matter is reason enough to refuse bail.
Noble and Azhar is claiming in their appeal that the magistrate over-emphasised the interest of the public when she refused them bail at the expense of their personal circumstances.
Judge Naomi Shivute, who was supposed to hear the appeal on Friday had to postpone the matter to Thursday after lawyer Sisa Namandje informed her that Azhar did not put in funds and asked the court to remand the matter.
Noble and Azhar will remain in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial awaiting inmates.
Noble is represented by defense lawyer Jan Wessels. The prosecution is represented by state advocate Salomon Kanyemba.