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N$206m cocaine case postponed for pre-trial

2020-10-19  Roland Routh

N$206m cocaine case postponed for pre-trial
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The accused in the cocaine bust case worth N$206 million, Grant Noble and Dinah Azhar, appeared in the Windhoek High Court last week. 
The duo, charged with dealing in and alternatively possession of 401 kilogrammes of cocaine, had their case postponed to 19 November for another pre-trial hearing. 
Prosecutor Solomon Kanyemba told Judge Christie Liebenberg he handed over the discovery, including the State pre-trial memorandum to Jan Wessels, who is representing both Noble Noble (36) and Azhar (62) – and that he was waiting for their reply. 

A pre-trial memorandum is where an accused indicates what will be disputed and what will be admitted during the trial. 
Noble and Azhar have been in police custody since 15 June 2018 following their arrest 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 ordered from Brazil via Cape Town to Namibia through the port of Walvis Bay. 

The container was kept under surveillance by port security, police and customs and excise after they received an international tip-off about the large consignment of cocaine destined for Walvis Bay. 
According to the indictment, the two accused were for intents and business associates based in Walvis Bay. 
Noble was the sole owner of Zeeki Trading cc and Azhar his financier, it is alleged. It is further stated in the indictment that during February 2018, Azhar made an outward payment of N$17 895.60 from Zeeki Trading to an entity called Safety Com. Importadora E Exportadora Eireli EPP in Santos Brazil under the pretext of buying A4 printing paper for resale in Namibia. 

During April 2018, it is said, customs and excise officials received intelligence regarding the importation of illicit goods from Brazil’s Port Santos to Walvis Bay port and ran a risk profiling of imports from Santos with specific focus on commodities such as printing paper, tiles, paint, biscuits and sweets. 
Towards the end of May 2018, it is further stated, customs and excise identified the shipment of a container with a description of printing paper from Port Santos, Brazil and the importer was Noble under the name and style of Zeeki Trading. 

The shipper was a Brazilian entity, named Safety Commercial Importadora E Exportadora Eireli, it is stated. 
It goes on to say that on 9 June 2018, the container arrived at the Port of Walvis Bay and Namport was notified; the container was placed under surveillance and the police were notified. 
Customs and excise then issued a notice that the container will undergo a physical inspection.  
However, Noble, through his agent, requested the inspection take place at his private warehouse, a request that was denied. 

Customs and excise then scanned the container on 14 June 2018 at their warehouse and suspicious objects were detected and a physical inspection was ordered, the indictment read. 
However, it is further stated, since the container could not be opened in the absence of its owner and or agent – and due to the unavailability of the clearance agent, it was agreed that the inspection can be conducted the next day, 15 June 2018. 

“On 15 June 2018, accused one (Noble) and accused two (Azhar) personally approached the port authorities to claim possession of the container and its contents,” the indictment states. 
“This was in the presence of members of the Namibian Police Force, customs and excise officials, as well as Namport officials.” 

It is further stated that the container was still closed and sealed; using a forcible entry tool, Noble broke the seal and the container was opened. 
Upon search, it was found that it contained 480 boxes of A4 printing paper, amongst which 400 blocks of cocaine were found, weighing 401.52 kg with a value of N$206 million, the indictment states. 
It further says a new seal with the same number was found in one of the boxes. 
Noble and Azhar were arrested on the scene and the cocaine – a dangerous dependence producing drug was seized, analysed and found to contain 87% cocaine.

2020-10-19  Roland Routh

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