5 December 2012

Namibia: Tanzanian Cocaine Accused Want Bail

Photo: UN/File
Police have confiscated 55,000 kilos of illegal drugs.

Windhoek — The three Tanzanian nationals caught with cocaine on October 31 lodged a bid to regain freedom in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The three - Abeid Ally Muhongoro, Nasoro Omari Mtombo and Alawi Ali Zambarau - were all arrested at Zambarau's residence. They have engaged the services of lawyer Christiaan Nambahu for the bail application.

They face charges of dealing in cocaine, alternatively possession of cocaine and obstructing or defeating the cause of justice. The State alleges they tried to flush the cocaine down the toilet after the police entered the house.

On Monday, Mtombo testified that he and Zambarau were preparing food at Zambarau's home when Muhongoro arrived. While seated Muhongoro took out some 'stuff' from his pockets, stuff which Mtombo claims not to have known.

Moreover, he went on that while Muhongoro was placing the 'stuff' on the table Mtombo heard a loud bang, followed by a loud noise as if a door was breaking.

He told the court that he then heard someone yelling "Namibian Police", upon which he ran since he did not know what was happening. Mtombo denied that he ran to the toilet to destroy the cocaine as the prosecution alleges. He further told the court that the police identified themselves as the Drug Law Enforcement Unit and indicated to them that the 'stuff' was in fact cocaine. Mtombo, who claims to be a single father who supports his child in Dar es Salaam, further told the court that he is a self-employed mechanic.

But on a question from the state prosecution team's lawyer Samantha Diergaardt, Mtombo said that he was an informal contractor since his business was not registered. He also said that if granted bail he would stay at Zambarau's residence and that his parents in Tanzania would sustain him.

Diergaardt wanted to know from the accused if his parents would not take care of his child to which he answered "not correctly".

He told the court that his parents are "not well off", but that they would do their best to sustain him while awaiting his trial in Namibia. Mtombo was in Namibia for barely two weeks on a two-month visitor's visa before his arrest.

Diergaardt strongly opposed the granting of bail to the three accused since they are all foreigners and are likely to abscond, while they have no family or assets in Namibia. Magistrate Ingrid Unengu postponed the case to this coming Friday, warning both the prosecution and defence lawyers that the case must be concluded before she goes on leave on December 14.

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