The second attempt by Fishrot accused Ricardo Gustavo to get bail was refused by the Windhoek High Court yesterday when his appeal application was dismissed.
Acting Judge Kobus Miller ruled the magistrate did not err in judgement when he denied the 44-year-old bail on the grounds of public interest or administration of justice.
“The magistrate found, correctly in my view, that the appellant faces charges which are inherently serious, not only in relation to the substantial amounts involved but also the manner in which the offences were allegedly committed, together with the circumstances under which the offences were allegedly committed,” stated Miller before he struck the case from the court roll.
Gustavo, former Investec Asset Management Namibia client director and director of Nengomar Pesca (Pty) Ltd, is charged alongside former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau (61), ex-minister of justice Sacky Shanghala (42), former Investec Namibia managing director James Hatuikulipi (44), Esau’s son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi (38) and Pius ‘Taxa’ Mwatelulo (31).
The group faces multiple counts of charges of fraud, bribery, corruptly using office for gratification, money laundering and conspiring to commit corruption.
These charges emanate from allegations that they received more than N$103 million in bribes from an Icelandic fishing company Samherji for the continuous supply of horse mackerel quotas in Namibia.
In addition, the prosecution has charged the group for defrauding the Ministry of Finance when they made misrepresentations to the Directorate of Inland Revenue that Nengomar Pesca Namibia generated revenue of N$14.1 million from 2014 to 2019, whereas the company generated revenue of N$40.1 million.
The court further noted the State has made out a prima facie case against Gustavo based on the evidence of Ant-Corruption Commission investigating officer Karl Cloete, that Gustavo as director of Nengomar Pesca (Pty) Ltd made misrepresentations that his alleged non-existent entity was entitled to receive fishing quotas.
“The prima facie case is that these misrepresentations were an important part in the greater scheme allegedly hatched by the appellant (Gustavo) and his co-accused,” stated Miller.
Gustavo alongside his co-accused have been in police custody for nearly eight months after they were arrested on 27 November 2019.
Massive blow… Fraud accused and Nengomar Pesca (Pty) Ltd director Ricardo Gustavo.
Photo: Emmency Nuukala