Lengthy postponement for cocaine case

Decision from Prosecutor General pending

21 November 2019 | Crime

Walvis Bay • [email protected]

Grant Noble (37) and Azhar Dinath (63) who were busted in connection with a massive cocaine haul in 2017, appeared before magistrate Rhivermo Williams in the Walvis Bay magistrate’s court earlier today.

Williams postponed the matter to 5 May 2020, pending a decision from the Prosecutor General.

Lawyer Jan Wessels entered a “not guilty” plea on behalf of both the accused.

Both men denied the allegations against them via a statement, saying they have never dealt with cocaine, nor was the drug found on them physically.

State prosecutor Maggy Shiyangaga-Lotto requested a postponement for the docket to be forwarded to the Prosecutor General for a decision on the matter.

Wessels objected to what he termed “a very lengthy postponement” and accused the state of not having finalised the investigation.

“I was told by a certain advocate Nanyemba that the investigation showed very little progress and was not completed. He (Nanyemba) subsequently denied telling me this. Should bail be granted for the accused, I will not object to any postponement in order to complete the investigation. My clients have been in custody for nearly two years and have failed twice to have bail granted.”

Wessels added that the High Court closes on 15 December and that the next 10 days in addition to another 15 days would be adequate for advocates to read the docket and make a decision.

“I have never encountered a postponement of a six-month period. This is unreasonable. Two months should suffice.”

Prosecutor Shiyangaga-Lotto countered that the defence was fishing for information and deploying old tricks to do so.

“It is not unusual for matters referred for a PG decision to be postponed for up to four months. There is nothing unusual about this request. The docket will be forwarded as soon as possible. The amount of information the advocates have to go through is voluminous. The issue of the accused being in custody has been surpassed by attempts by them to obtain bail.”

Magistrate Williams said that the defence based its argument on hearsay.

“The issue of the investigation not being finalised should have been raised at the previous appearance. The defence is throwing baseless accusations around and trying to bring up the issue of bail. This is off the table as the High Court ruling stands.”

Noble and Dinah were arrested in June 2017 for being in possession of 412kg of cocaine with a street value of N$206 million. It was found inside a container in the port of Walvis Bay.

The two were arrested after customs officials and the police discovered the cocaine in a container shipped from Brazil via Cape Town to Walvis Bay.

They were subsequently charged with dealing in, and with an alternative charge of being in possession of, cocaine and have remained in custody since their arrest.

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