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Namandje promises fireworks in drug trial

2022-04-28  Roland Routh

Namandje promises fireworks in drug trial

Prominent lawyer Sisa Namandje has promised fireworks when he gives his final arguments on the innocence of his clients and suspected drug traffickers Grant Noble and his co-accused Dinath Azhar before Windhoek High Court Judge Orben Sibeya this morning.

The trial has now come to the last roll of the dice for the two men, accused in the biggest drug bust in the history of Namibia at the port of Walvis Bay.

During this week, two men Paul Ndefhilile and Linekela Hilundwa, who were supposedly approached by “two white men” to clear the container in which the drugs were eventually found, testified. 

Ndefhilile, who is a clearing agent in Walvis Bay, said he was visited by “white men”, who wanted him to clear a container that had a customs stop order attached to it. 

He further said he contacted Hilundwa, who is attached to the port security, and asked him to join them during their next meeting and pretend he did not understand. 

During the subsequent meeting, Ndefhilile said, the white men asked him to clear the container, and offered him N$500 000, which he increased to N$2 million when the normal fee was N$2 000. 

Ndefhilile further said he refused, as the container was stopped by customs, and it would be too risky to open it. 

The men further told him the container had drugs on the third pallet, and that there was also another seal, which they could use to reseal the container after removing the drugs. Hilundwa made a confirmatory statement, and also said he informed his superiors at the port, who then informed the police. Noble (36) and Azhar (62) are charged with one count of dealing in cocaine. They are also charged with one count of money laundering. 

Noble and Azhar were arrested 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. The cocaine was hidden between boxes of copy paper the two ordered from Brazil via Cape Town to Namibia. 

Azhar has, in the meantime, been released on bail of N$10 000 by judge Sibeya. Noble and Azhar claimed during their testimonies that they were unaware 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 the packages contained cocaine.

He further said that the police never investigated the information provided by Ndefhilile and Hilundwa as they already decided he was guilty.

After the defence closed their case last week, the judge ordered that Ndefhilile and Hilundwa be summoned to testify.

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 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 US$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.  -

2022-04-28  Roland Routh

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