Namibia: 'Cops Dictated Search Warrant' ... Namandje Insists Police Headed Cocaine Sting Operation

16 September 2021

Defence lawyer Sisa Namandje continues to question the defective search warrant in the drug trial of Walvis Bay men Grant Noble (36) and Dinath Azhar (62) before Windhoek High Court Judge Orben Sibeya.

Despite the State conceding the warrant was defective and their intention not to depend on the warrant to prove their case, Namandje insists the operation was a police sting under the defective warrant and not a customs operation as the State claims.

During his cross-examination of three customs officials, Namandje repeatedly put it to the witnesses that according to his instructions, the operation was dictated and led by the police officers present.

According to him, his clients insist it was the police who gave the orders and not the custom's officials as pretended.

He further said that his client's version is that Noble was forcefully removed from his residence to come to the Walvis Bay port to witness the opening of the container.

He further said his client denies the assertion by the customs officials that Noble had an agreement with them for the container to be opened.

He further said Noble denied he ever gave his consent for the container to be opened or the contents inspected.

At the resumption of the trial on Monday, senior customs official Matti Niingo basically repeated the evidence of Jesaja Shangula, who was the acting controller at the time the container was opened.

Niingo told the court that he and other colleagues were instructed by Shangula to attend an inspection of a cargo container at the port police station on 15 June 2018.

He further said that during the inspection, they discovered several boxes that were different from the others.

Upon inspection of the boxes, they found several parcels inside the boxes, which contained a whitish powder.

He further testified the police then informed them it was suspected cocaine powder, and they then completed the documentation for handing over the suspected cocaine to the police. Namandje also questioned the chain of custody of the contraband.

According to him, it was the police who was in control of the suspected cocaine from the get-go, and the customs officials were only there as decoys to make the operation look legitimate instead of unlawful.

Namandje objected to the evidence obtained during the search of the container on the strength of the defective search and seizure warrant in which 412 kilogrammes of cocaine was found hidden between copy paper boxes.

Noble and Azhar are accused of dealing in, alternatively possession of 412 kilogrammes of cocaine worth an estimated N$206 million as well as a count of money laundering.

They remain in custody and the trial will continue today.

The State is represented by Timo Itula

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