Windhoek High Court Judge Orben Sibeya yesterday declined to grant the prosecutor general office’s application to bar local lawyer Sisa Namandje from defending two men on trial for their alleged involvement in the biggest drug bust in Namibia’s history.
State prosecutor Salomon Kanyemba asked Judge Sibeya not to allow Namandje to defend Grant Noble (36) and Dinath Azhar (62) who are accused of dealing in, alternatively possession of 412 kilogrammes of cocaine, claiming he was conflicted.
According to the prosecution, Namandje has also represented one of the State witnesses in the High Court during 2013, as such, he is ethically bound to withdraw from the case. Namandje opposed the application.
The judge only gave his order yesterday and said the reasons for his ruling will be available this Friday. Noble and Azhar have been in police custody since 15 June 2018, following their arrest after a container they had imported was found loaded with 412 kilogrammes 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. 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 South America with a 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 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 placed under surveillance.
It is further stated that the container was still closed and sealed and using a forcible entry tool, Noble broke the seal and the container was opened. Upon search, it contained 480 boxes of A4 printing paper and amongst the boxes of paper, 400 blocks of cocaine were found weighing over 401.52 kg with a value of N$206 million, the indictment states.
It further says that 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. The main trial will start on 7 June.