Gustavo coughs up N$800k to go home

The Namgomar director, whom the State accuses of making N$22 million from the Fishrot scandal, left jail at just before 16:00, after paying the entire bail amount set by the court.

16 December 2021 | Justice

JEMIMA BEUKES







WINDHOEK

Fishrot accused Ricardo Gustavo, accompanied by an army of friends and family members, yesterday smelled the scent of partial freedom after walking out of the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility just before 16h00, having paid the entire N$800 000 bail amount at the Windhoek High Court earlier in the day.

High Court Judge Herman Oosthuizen granted him bail of N$800 000 - of which N$300 000 could be paid in cash while the remaining N$500 000 could be backed up with a guarantee or surety – but the sole director of Namgomar Pesca Namibia posted the entire amount.

“He’s currently at reception doing some paper work – accompanied by friends and family,” a correctional services source told Namibian Sun.

“He paid the entire N$800 000 at the High Court. This amount is too big so it had to be paid at court,” officials said.

During his bail application, which the State opposed, Gustavo had indicated he will be able to deposit N$250 000 for bail, but the court yesterday hiked the amount to N$800 000.

With bail paid, Gustavo finally got a taste of freedom, albeit under extremely stringent conditions.

He was also given the go-ahead to enter into gainful employment within Namibia or elsewhere - excluding Angola, Iceland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - on condition that such employment is disclosed to State advocates Ed Marondedze and Cliff Lutibezi.

Gustavo faces two counts of racketeering, two counts of money laundering, four counts of contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, three counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud alternatively theft, and one main count of theft.

No contact

In earlier submissions, the State last month argued that Gustavo connived with his co-accused - including former justice and fisheries ministers Sacky Shanghala and Bernhardt Esau - to wrongfully divert 50 000 metric tons of horse mackerel quotas to Namgomar Pesca Limitade.

Gustavo, who is registered as a director of Namgomar Pesca Limitade and also its only employee, was ordered by the High Court yesterday not to make any contact with prospective witnesses from Iceland, Angola, South Africa and the UAE acting on behalf of Tundavala Invest Limited or Pronto Investments Limited in Dubai.

It is alleged that Gustavo travelled to Iceland with Shanghala, James Hatuikulipi, Tamson Hatuikulipi and Fishrot whistle-blower Johannes Stefánsson in August 2014, when an agreement that Icelandic fishing companies’ group Samherji would utilise fishing quotas allocated under a fisheries cooperation agreement between Namibia and Angola was signed.

In cross-examination during Gustavo’s bail hearing, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigator Andreas Kanyangela said during that visit to Iceland, it was decided that the Samherji group would pay only a quarter of the agreed price for the Namibian fishing quotas to which it was given access to through Gustavo’s Namgomar Pesca Namibia.

The remaining 75% of usage fees for the quotas were to be paid to Dubai-based Tundavala, a company owned by James Hatuikulipi, Kanyangela said.

Home sweet home

The State was given permission to procure - at its own costs - and have Gustavo fitted with a GPS device as well as to track his vehicles around the clock while he is out on bail. It also ordered him to not leave the Finkestein Estate between 18:00 and 06:00.

He is also not allowed to come within a one-kilometre radius of the Eros Airport and no less than 25 kilometres of the Hosea Kutako International Airport, and may not wander outside a radius of 22 kilometres of the City of Windhoek headquarters.

He must further report to the Kapps Farm Police Station twice daily, and to the ACC every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning to sign a record book.

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