The State has failed dismally to prove its case against Grant Noble and his co-accused Dinath Azhar, their lawyer Sisa Namandje told Windhoek High Court Judge Orben Sibeya on Friday.
According to Namandje, no shred of credible evidence was produced by prosecution on any of the charges against them.
Suspected traffickers 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 copy paper boxes the two ordered from Brazil via Cape Town to Namibia through the port of Walvis Bay.
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 made mention of irregularities that took place already in the magistrate’s court in Walvis Bay, and said the State used outright manipulation techniques.
A case in point, he said, was when the State informed the magistrate that investigations were finalised in the matter while the police were still scrambling around looking for evidence.
Furthermore, he said, the fact that they did not investigate the claims of two men who made statements to the effect that “white men” approached them to remove “stuff” from the container in which the drugs were eventually found and the prosecution’s attempt to keep that information from the court shows they wanted his clients to be found guilty by hook or crook.
He went on to say that no investigations were carried out to find the person who put the “alleged” drugs on the container in the first place, and whether it happened in Brazil or Cape Town, where the container was switched to another ship.
In fact, Namandje said, the State cannot prove definitively that the shipment was not tampered with during the switch in Cape Town.
There is simply no evidence to convict his clients on the count of dealing in cocaine – and if that charge fails, there the charge of money laundering must fall by the wayside.
In any event, Namandje argued, the money laundering charge constitutes a duplication of charges, as it relates to the same issue.
He asked: How can one commit the offence of money laundering if the unlawful activity from whence the proceeds would have come never took place?
Timo Itula for the State conceded the two charges might be a duplication, but in their view, the importation of the copy paper with the drugs could be construed as concealing the proceeds of illegal gains.
He argued the accused persons performed acts in connection with the collection, importation, transhipment and administration of the container.
“The accused persons cannot run away from the fact that they imported the container in which the illicit drugs were found,” he said, and continued: The State further argues that all the pieces of evidence looked at holistically clearly indicate that the accused persons not only knew about the existence of the cocaine in the container but imported it.”
As such, Itula argued, the court has no other choice but to find that the accused persons are indeed guilty of the offences preferred against them.
Judge Sibeya said he has a lot to consider and will need some time to go through all the evidence.
He reserved his judgment until 28 July.
Noble remains in custody but he will be transferred to the Port Police Station in Walvis Bay.