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Cablegate: Namibia: Incsr Part I, Drugs and Chemical Control

VZCZCXRO1665
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHWD #0340/01 3081244
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031244Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0133
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 WINDHOEK 000340

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR WA
SUBJECT: NAMIBIA: INCSR PART I, DRUGS AND CHEMICAL CONTROL

REF: STATE 100970

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I. Summary
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1. (SBU) While occasionally used as a drug transit point, Namibia is
not a major drug producer or exporter. Nevertheless, statistics
compiled in 2008 showed a marked increase in illegal drug seizures
compared to previous years, with approximately $570,000 worth of
drugs (1383 kilograms of marijuana, plus extremely small quantities
of Mandrax (methaqualone), cocaine, and Ecstasy) seized between
April 2007 and March 2008. Drug abuse remains an issue of concern,
especially among economically disadvantaged groups. Narcotics
enforcement is the responsibility of the Namibian Police's Drug Law
Enforcement Unit (DLEU), which lacks both manpower and resources to
fully carry-out its mission. Namibia is not a party to the 1988 UN
Drug Convention. End Summary.

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II. Status of Country
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2. (SBU) Namibia is not a significant producer of drugs or precursor
chemicals. No drug production facilities were discovered in Namibia
in 2008.

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III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2008
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Policy Initiatives.

3. (SBU) Namibia has requested United Nations (UNODC) assistance in
completing a National Drug Master Plan. While Namibia has not said
precisely when it will become a party to the 1988 UN Drug
Convention, many Convention requirements are already reflected in
Namibian law, which criminalizes cultivation, production,
distribution, sale, transport and financing of illicit narcotics.
Namibia's Parliament passed the Prevention of Organized Crime Act
(POCA), designed to combat organized crime and money laundering, in
2004, and the Government intends to issue regulations and place POCA
into effect in late 2008, or early 2009. In July 2007, Parliament
passed the Financial Intelligence Act (FIA) and the Government
intends to issue regulations and place FIA into effect also in late
2008, or early 2009. The Combating of the Abuse of Drugs Bill was
tabled in Parliament in 2006, but has yet to be passed. If passed,
it would ban the consumption, trafficking, sale and possession of
dangerous, undesirable and dependence-inducing substances. Namibia
is also a signatory to the International Convention for the
Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. The Namibian
Anti-Terrorism Activities Bill and Drugs Control Bill are still
under consideration. Once fully implemented and harmonized, the new
legislation will allow for asset forfeiture and other
narcotics-related prosecution tools.

Law Enforcement Efforts.

4. (SBU) Namibia fully participates in regional law enforcement
cooperation efforts against narcotics trafficking, especially
through the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the
Southern African Regional Police Chiefs' Cooperative Organization
(SARPCCO). The Minister of Safety and Security and working level
officials meet regularly with counterparts from neighboring
countries to discuss efforts to combat cross border contraband
shipments (including narcotics trafficking).

5. (SBU) According to official statistics (published in April every
year), police seized the following from April 2007 to March 2008:

2007* 2006**
-------------------------------------------
Cannabis 1383 422 kilograms
Cocaine powder 32 0.9 kilograms
Crack cocaine 528 257 dosage units
Ecstasy 394 1192 tablets
Methaqualone 381 634 tablets

* Statistics collected April 2007 to March 2008
** Statistics collected April 2006 to March 2007

6. (SBU) In November 2007, Namibian Police seized 544 kilograms of
cannabis, the largest single seizure in Namibian history.
Drug related arrests increased from 526 people in 2006, to 863 in
2007.

Namibian Police's Drug Law Enforcement Unit (DLEU), continues to
lack the manpower, resources and equipment required to fully address
the domestic drug trade and transshipment issues. For example, the
DLEU only has sniffer dogs in Windhoek to carry out its enforcement
activities, while other transit points lack coverage.


WINDHOEK 00000340 002 OF 002


Corruption.

7. (SBU) As a matter of government policy, the Government of Namibia
does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution
of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or
the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Similarly, no senior government official is alleged to have
participated in such activities.

Agreements and Treaties.

8. (SBU) Namibia is not a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention;
however, it is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended
by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic
Substances. Namibia also is a party to the UN Convention Against
Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant
smuggling and trafficking in persons, and to the UN Convention
against Corruption. The United State and Namibia do not have a
bi-lateral extradition or mutual legal assistance treaty. In 2006,
however, Namibia designated the United States as a country to which
Namibia could extradite persons, and there is a pending extradition
case. In addition, there has been excellent cooperation regarding
legal assistance between both countries.

Drug Flow/Transit.

9. (SBU) Namibia's excellent port facilities and road network,
combined with weak border enforcement, make it a likely
transshipment point for drugs en route to the larger and more
lucrative South African market. DLEU (Drug Law Enforcement Unit)
personnel believe much of the transshipment takes place via shipping
containers either offloaded at the port of Walvis Bay or entering
overland from Angola and transported via truck to Botswana, Zambia
and South Africa. Inadequate staffing and training, inadequate
screening equipment, and varying levels of motivation among
working-level customs and immigration officers at Namibia's land
border posts all prevent adequate container inspection and
interception of contraband. Inconsistently applied immigration
controls also make Namibia an attractive transit point for Africans
en route to or from Latin America for illicit purposes. The current
maritime security posture does not allow the Namibian police, naval,
and port authorities to monitor maritime activities outside the 5 km
outer anchorage area of Namibia's major ports in Walvis Bay and
Luderitz. It has been reported that drug traffickers have been able
to exploit this weakness by using small crafts to meet larger
vessels outside these controlled areas. The Namibian Navy assists
the police and customs officials with better patrolling of Namibia's
Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and expected to have a mission
capable fleet by mid-2008, but due to resource constraints had to
postpone this activity until 2009.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction.

10. (SBU) Drug treatment programs are available from private
clinics, and to a lesser extent from public facilities. The vast
majority of treatment cases in Namibia are for alcohol abuse, with
the remainder divided evenly between cannabis and Mandrax
(methaqualone). There is also increasing evidence of the problem of
cocaine use in Namibia.

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IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
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Policy Initiatives.

11. (SBU) The USG continues to support Namibian participation in law
enforcement training programs at the International Law Enforcement
Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana. Most of these training
programs include counternarcotics modules. Representatives of
several Namibian law enforcement agencies (Customs and Border
Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Prison Service, the
Namibian Police, and the Anti-Corruption Commission) and prosecutors
have participated in ILEA training. The police have repeatedly
stated their willingness to cooperate with the USG on any future
narcotics-related investigations. The U.S. Department of the
Treasury is assisting Namibia with the establishment and development
of the Financial Intelligence Center to fully implement the
Financial Intelligence Act.

The Road Ahead.

12. (SBU) The USG will continue to coordinate with relevant law
enforcement bodies to allow them to take advantage of training
opportunities at ILEA Botswana and elsewhere, and will assist the
Government of Namibia in any narcotics investigation with a U.S.
nexus.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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