Brazilian on stand in Cwele drug case

2010-10-18 13:00

Carolina Passato Braga, a chemical expert with the Brazilian federal police, took the stand today during the fifth day of the trial involving Sheryl Cwele, the wife of the state security minister.

Braga was one of the three Brazilians who arrived at the Pietermaritzburg High Court to testify in the case.

Other Brazilians, Carlos de Bartole of the Brazilian Federal Police and Denison Maia were also expected to testify.

Bartole arrested Tessa Beetge for possession of cocaine in Brazil in 2008.

The state alleged she was recruited by the wife of Minister Siyabonga Cwele and Nigerian Frank Nabolisa as a drug mule.

Beetge was arrested in Brazil in 2008.

Cwele and Nabolisa also allegedly conspired to recruit Charmaine Moss as a drug mule. Moss turned down the offer when she suspected something was amiss.

Beetge was currently serving an eight-year jail sentence in Sao Paulo, Brazil, after 10kg of raw cocaine was found in her luggage.

Braga spent just under an hour explaining how the substance found in possession of Beetge was tested. She said officials at the Sao Paulo International Airport had conducted preliminary tests of the substance.

The start of the fifth day of the trial was delayed. The trial was supposed to start at 10 am and it started just after midday.

It was not clear what caused the delay.

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