How Gustavo shared N$38m Namgomar loot

In new papers filed this week, the PG asserts that one-man company Namgomar Pesca transferred millions of dollars to a web of friends purely for self-enrichment.
Jemima Beukes


Prosecutor-general Martha Imalwa has come up with a renewed bid to lay her hands on the assets of Namgomar Pesca (Namibia), a fishing company owned by Ricardo Gustavo which allegedly received N$38 million from Icelandic company Samherji and then distributed over N$31 million of that money to cronies who are now embroiled in the Fishrot bribery scandal.

Imalwa is confident that given the available evidence, the State would score a conviction against the accused once they go on trial, and that Namgomar will be found guilty of fraud, money-laundering and racketeering under the Anti-Corruption Act.

Imalwa is also convinced that it is more than evident that the company benefited from being allocated fish quotas and from the payments it received from the catching agreement with Samherji, and therefore the court will certainly grant the State a confiscation order.

In court documents filed this week, she said some Fishrot accused devised a scheme which would allow Samherji to apply for fishing licences for its vessels to enable Samherji to catch all the fish quotas that were allocated to Namgomar.

According to her, Namgomar was granted a fishing concession in Namibia for horse mackerel and agreed to grant this fishing right to Esja Holding to catch its horse mackerel quota.

Esja Holding eventually commercially exploited Namgomar’s horse mackerel quota for the duration of the agreement until 31 December 2023 and agreed to pay them a usage fee of N$500 per tonne of horse mackerel caught.

She added that former fisheries minister Bernard Esau, also under this purported agreement, allocated a 50 000-tonne horse mackerel quota to Namgomar between 2014 and 2019, as given the market value of one tonne of horse mackerel during this period, Namgomar unlawfully received at least N$547 million.

Imalwa went on to say that Namgomar also received about N$38 million from Samherji through its subsidiaries in Namibia under the pretence of this dubious catching agreement.

Sharing the spoils

According to the PG, while this agreement was purportedly borne out of a bilateral agreement between Namibia and Angola for the benefit of its people, the money withdrawn from Namgomar was clearly not used for the benefit of Angola or for any food security.

Instead, it turned out that the money from Samherji to Namgomar was channelled to Gustavo himself, who received N$14.8 million, Greyguard, who received N$2.3 million, Erongo Clearing with N$400 000 and Otuafika Logistics, who received N$12.1 million.

Erongo Clearing is owned by Fishrot co-accused Tamson ‘Fitty’ Hatuikulipi, while another Fishrot co-accused, Pius Mwatelulo, is the director of Otuafika Logistics.

“It is evident that the Namgomar Pesca Ltd Pty did not serve any legitimate objective as determined by the Marine Resources Act. It has no employees, only a director [Gustavo], who transferred large amounts to himself for his own and others’ enrichment.

“The defendants in this matter, including the Namgomar Pesca Ltd Pty, acted in common purpose in furtherance of the objective of the enterprise in order to secure the fish quotas and subsequent benefits from the allocation of the fish quotas,” said Imalwa.

“This was essentially a briefcase company.”

Fraudulent intent

It is also her view that Namgomar, with the other accused, was out to defraud the Namibian government by creating the impression that the usage fee agreement was the fee as per the catching agreement with Samherji, whereas it only represented 25% of the agreed fee.

She added that they connived to ensure that they were nominated by Esau to receive the fish quotas and to launder the proceeds of the unlawful fish quotas by entering in to a catching agreement with Samherji.

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Namibian Sun 2023-03-29

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