Gustavo adds properties to new bail offer

Ricardo Gustavo presided over a joint venture company that was allegedly established to hijack fishing quotas to the value of N$150 million.

20 July 2020 | Justice

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



Former Investec Namibia business manager Ricardo Gustavo has offered two of his properties to his N$100 000 bail offer in a fresh bid heard in the High Court on Friday.

Gustavo is implicated in the Fishrot scandal in which N$75.6 million was allegedly paid from the National Fishing Corporation (Fishcor) into the accounts of companies belonging to his former boss at Investec James Hatuikulipi, former justice minister Sakeus Shangala, businessman Tamson Hatuikulipi and Hanganeni employee Pius Mwatelulo.

Gustavo initially applied for bail in the magistrate's court, citing his desire to take care of his family.

That application was dismissed. In a fresh application in the High Court, Gustavo has put up two of his properties as surety, as well N$100 000 as bail. He also offered to hand over his travel documents to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and said he would not apply for any new travel documents.

Gustavo, who the State argues is a flight risk, also offered to visit the offices of the ACC twice a day, his lawyer Louis Botes said.



State opposition

State prosecutor Cliff Lutibezi argued against Gustavo's bail bid, saying that Gustavo had made representations to authorities in his capacity as Namongar Pesca company director.

It is alleged that the company was established to hijack fishing quotas to the value of N$150 million in a donation made by the Namibian government to Angola.

Arguing against Gustavo's release, Lutibezi said it was apparent that Gustavo had signed documents as the company's director. Lutibezi also argued that the Fishrot saga, in which former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau was implicated, was a complex case.

“It involves a syndicate. This is one of the most complex cases to be investigated in Namibia,” said Lutibezi. According to the prosecutor, there is a strong prima facie case against Gustavo and his co-accused.



Previous argument

The State had also previously pointed out that Gustavo was a flight risk

According to the State, Gustavo is only now aware of the full extent of evidence against him. When he was arrested, he was under the impression that there was no case against him and he would be acquitted.

“Why should Gustavo remain in Namibia when he is on the verge of losing everything and he has no source of income?

He can simply move with his family to Angola and start a new life there because the family will have nothing in Namibia due to the financial hardships he currently faces,” Lutibezi said.

High Court Judge Kobus Miller said he would make his ruling on 28 July.

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