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Mega drug dealers’ appeal bid fails

2023-04-14  Maria Amakali

Mega drug dealers’ appeal bid fails

The duo incarcerated for dealing in cocaine with a street market value of N$206 million have lost their chance to petition the Supreme Court over their conviction.

Windhoek High Court judge Orben Sibeya yesterday dismissed the leave to appeal applications of Grant Noble and Dinath Azhar.

Sibeya said Noble (41) and Azhar (66) failed to persuade the court on a balance of probability that they stand a good chance of succeeding in their case once they are granted leave to petition the Supreme Court over the convictions.

In October 2022, the court convicted Noble and Azhar on a charge of dealing in 412 kilograms of cocaine, with a local street market value of about N$206 million. They also faced one count of money laundering but were acquitted, as the judge found a duplication of charges.

At the time, the court found that Noble and Azhar had used their close corporation Zeeki Trading as a front to import printing paper and cocaine into Namibia.

As a result of their convictions, Noble and Azhar were each sentenced to serve 12 years imprisonment, of which five years were suspended on the condition that they are not convicted of dealing in dangerous dependence-producing substances during the period of suspension. The court also declared the 412kg of cocaine as well as the 420 boxes of copy paper forfeited to the State.

Noble and Azhar were detained on 15 June 2018 following their arrest after a container they imported was found loaded with 412kg of cocaine worth an estimated N$206 million. This is the single-largest consignment of cocaine to have been confiscated in Namibia to date, according to the police.

The cocaine was hidden between copy paper boxes the two ordered from Brazil, via Cape Town to Namibia, through the port of Walvis Bay.

Noble and Azhar claimed during their testimonies that they were unaware that their container was used to smuggle drugs into the country. Noble said he was shocked, became dizzy, and could not believe what he was seeing when the police declared that the packages contained cocaine.

However, Sibeya said Noble failed to substantiate his claims with evidence in a form of medical reports that he was indeed in a state of shock.

In the appeals, Noble and Azhar claimed Sibeya erred in law when he convicted them. They claimed there were discrepancies in the testimonies of police chief inspector Charles Goagoseb during the bail hearing and the main trial.

They said vast discrepancies in the two versions are material, and could have an impact on the appeal hearing.

The duo added that in the bail hearing, Goagoseb defended commissioner Sylvanus Ngishidimbwa’s fraudulent obtaining of the search warrant to open and search the container, and his second version that the fraudulent warrant was not used to open and search the container.  The container in question is the one they imported from
Brazil, and which was ostensibly containing copy paper.

Furthermore, there is no proof of who placed the cocaine in the container, or where it originated from.

For their trial, Noble and Azhar were represented by Sisa Namandje while Timo Itula was prosecuting for the State.

2023-04-14  Maria Amakali

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