WINDHOEK – The Windhoek Regional Court is set to deliver a ruling on Friday in the case of a former Air Namibia cabin crew member who is accused of trying to smuggle N$5 million worth of heroin.
The accused, Percival Mensah, 37, is on trial on a count of dealing in or possessing 10,27 kilogrammes of heroin, and a charge of acquiring, possessing or using the proceeds of unlawful activities related to the incident.
Following the conclusion of oral arguments before Magistrate Alexis Deigaardt, the court informed Mensah that it would pronounce itself in the matter on Friday. During the arguments, the state called on the court to convict Mensah as charged. According to the state, Mensah’s version is not truthful and should be disregarded.
During the trial, Mensah, through his defence lawyer Jan Wessels, denied any wrongdoing. Wessels said that they are not disputing that Mensah was at Hosea Kutako International Airport on the day, because he was part of the cabin crew employed by Air Namibia, but they deny he had any dealing in heroin.
Mensah allegedly received the alleged drugs found in the suitcase with which he was to travel from Namibia to Frankfurt from an old friend by the name Chandre Hill. Mensah further denies that the drugs were his property and that he knew what was in the bag when he received it from his friend Hill.
Hill, 26, was initially charged alongside Mensah, but the prosecution withdrew the charges against him in September last year due to lack of evidence. In his arguments, Wessels called on the court to acquit Mensah as he was not the owner of the drugs.
According to Detective Sergeant Lukas Lukas from the Namibian police drug unit, on December 17, 2016 the police together with Mensah went through the contents of his bag. “Upon inspection, we found male clothes and underneath the pile of clothes was an extra bag,” explained Lukas. Lukas informed the court that inside the extra bag they found 10 parcels with substances suspected to be heroin. Mensah allegedly vanished from the airport after police officers started to make enquiries about the ownership of the luggage in which the suspected drugs had been detected, and did not depart on the flight to Germany as scheduled. This happened before the search as he had returned and handed himself over.