'Strike Fishrot case from the court roll'

11 September 2020 | Justice

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



Trevor Brockerhoff, the lawyer representing former Investec manager Ricardo Gustavo, has asked the Windhoek Magistrate's Court to consider striking the Fishrot matter from the court roll, arguing there is no certainty when the Anti-Corruption Commission will reasonably conclude its investigations.

Gustavo and his co-accused, former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, former Investec CEO James Hatuikulipi, businessman Tamson Hatuikulipi and Hanganeni employee Pius Mwatelulo, were in court again yesterday.

They stand accused of fraud, bribery, money laundering and conspiring to commit corruption for their alleged involvement in a scheme to benefit financially from the allocation of Namibian fishing quotas to Namgomar Pesca Namibia, of which Gustavo is the sole director. Namgomar had a horse-mackerel fishing quota in Namibia as well as a catching agreement with an Icelandic-owned company that allegedly paid more than N$103 million in kickbacks to companies owned by the accused.



Prejudiced

Brockerhoff argued that the State's conduct was prejudiced and highly malicious.

He argued that the State could not be bothered about the pace at which the case was moving, saying that investigations into alleged corrupt practices emanated from 2014. According to the lawyer, it could take between six months and three years to conclude investigations.

“If we wait for the State to get its house in order, my client's life will be destroyed beyond repair,” Brockerhoff told Magistrate Vanessa Stanley, who was presiding over the matter. The lawyer further informed the court that Gustavo had suffered financial losses and that commercial banks had foreclosed on his properties, adding his children now had to live with family members. Gustavo has no source of income, Brockerhoff said. He told the court his client had been ostracised, adding the fact that Gustavo and his co-accused had been arrested on the day of the national elections last year was peculiar.

Stanley remanded the matter to Monday for a ruling.

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