The State yesterday closed its case in the trial of Grant Noble and Dinath Azhar, who are facing criminal charges in relation to a cocaine bust worth N$206 million.
Prosecutor Timo Itula closed the State’s case after its final witness Dr Paul Ludik concluded giving testimony before Judge Orben Sibeya.
Ludik, who is a consulting forensic scientist for the Namibian police, explained in detail the scientific process undertaken to test the substances suspected to be cocaine.
He said that on 16 June 2018, the forensic laboratory received the exhibit bags containing two rectangular bricks, weighing 1.4kg and 1.32kg respectively.
Ludik stressed the exhibit bags were completely sealed and intact.
“Although I did not carry out the quantitative analysis, I subjected the substance to testing, and obtained spectrum data. It confirmed the presence of dependence-producing substance – cocaine,” said Ludik.
Shortly after his testimony, Sisa Namandje, lawyer to the two accused, said he will lodge an application for their discharge on the charge of money laundering in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act.
Namandje said the State has failed to prove the charge of money laundering against the accused.
Noble (36) and Azhar (62) are on trial on counts of dealing in, alternatively possessing a dangerous dependence-producing drug, and money laundering. They have denied the charges.
The duo was arrested on 15 June 2018 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 officials 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 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.
Upon the search, 480 boxes of A4 printing paper, amongst which 400 blocks of cocaine were found, weighing 412kg with a value of N$206 million.
The trial is currently ongoing.