WINDHOEK – A former cabin crew who is accused of using Namibia’s national airline for drug dealing purposes has denied guilt when he took the stand in Windhoek Regional Court for his trial yesterday.
Percival Mensah, 36, took a no guilty plea to a count of drug dealing and a count of acquisition, possession or use of proceeds of unlawful activities which falls under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).
Mensah was arrested alongside Clint Chundve Hill, 26, who has since been removed from the case due to lack of evidence.
Mensah’s defence attorney Jan Wessels said his client was not disputing that he was at Hosea Kutako International Airport because he was part of the cabin crew employed by Air Namibia, but was denying dealing in heroin.
Taking the witness stand, Erastus Ileni, a police sergeant stationed at Hosea Kutako airport’s aviation unit, testified that on December 16, 2016 a black suitcase could not be cleared, as there were foreign substances in it.
He testified that following such a discovery, the bag was seized.
The police detected suspicious substance that was later confirmed to be heroin, hidden in the cabin attendant’s check-in luggage of the national airline that was destined for Frankfurt.
At the time the police could not determine who the owner of the suitcase was. However, Mensah was later apprehended after he handed himself over to the police but was later released on bail of N$10 000, after making his first court appearance.
According to Nampol’s Detective Sergeant Lukas Lukas from the police drug unit, on December 18, 2016 the police together with Mensah went through the contents of his bag. “Upon inspection, we found male clothes and underneath piles of clothes was an extra bag,” explained Sergeant Lukas.
Lukas informed the court that inside the extra bag they found 10 parcels with substances suspected to be heroin. An analysis was done, which confirmed that the substance found in the bag was indeed heroin.
Consequently, Mensah was charged for drug dealing on December 19, 2016.
According to Mensah’s charge sheet, he was found in possession of 10 270kg of heroin with the street value of N$500 000.
Mensah’s trial is currently ongoing in Windhoek Regional Court, with Fillemon Nyau prosecuting for the state and Magistrate Alexis Diergaardt presiding.