Pointless releasing Gustavo – State

27 May 2020 | Justice



The State yesterday said granting Fishrot accused Ricardo Gustavo, who testified yesterday that he is 'penniless', would only burden his already suffering family.

The former Investec executive proposed a N$100 000 bail amount.

His argument that he has lost income should be dismissed because, with the Fishrot scandal hanging over his head, no one would employ or do business with him, the State also argued.

He is also a flight risk because he has relatives in Angola, State advocate Cliff Lutibezi argued.

Travesty' to grant bail

Lutibezi also said the country currently has people behind bars for being implicated in theft of as little as N$600, and it would thus be a travesty if Gustavo, whose case involves more than N$130 million, is granted bail.

“How is he going to support his family? He has lost his job. Has he been promised a job somewhere? Who will be offering him a job in this time and while this matter is still before the court? He says he is penniless, who will pay his bail? His family? So, must they be burdened now?” he asked.

Magistrate Johannes Shuuveni postponed the hearing to 3 June.

In his application, Gustavo said while the proposed N$100 000 bail would undoubtedly be difficult for his family, he is left with no choice but to push for freedom to be reunited with his children, who are suffering after he lost his job.

Gustavo, who resigned from Investec Asset Management Namibia in March following his implication in the Fishrot scandal, is represented by Trevor Brockerhoff, assisted by Florian Beukes.

The duo moved that no shred of evidence has been produced by the State to show that Gustavo is a dangerous offender and a danger to the public.

Increased risk factors

The State pointed out that while the applicant now promises not to abscond because he had submitted himself voluntary after his first arrest, things have changed and risk factors have drastically increased.

These include his loss of income and, at the time, his property was not under foreclosure and he still had his vehicles and money.

According to the State, Gustavo is only now aware of the full extent of evidence against him and when he was first 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.

Emotional ties to Namibia

However, Brockerhoff objected to this and said their client's family and emotional ties are deeply rooted in Namibia and his immediate family have been living with him in the vicinity of Windhoek for more than 30 years.

They also moved that all his property and investments are in Namibia, that his passport is in the possession of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and that, if granted bail, he will not apply for new travel documents.

“Gustavo cannot afford to forfeit his bail and he does not have the means to abscond and live on the run; and Gustavo has shown on a balance of probabilities that he will not abscond if released on bail regardless of the nature of the charges,” he said.

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