By: Andrew Kathindi
Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa says that she will have to study the reasons behind judge Herman Oosthuizen’s decision to grant fishrot accused Ricardo Gustavo bail before making her next move.
She said that she could not comment on whether she intends to appeal the decision until she has had a chance to look at the reasons in detail.
Gustavo was granted bail of N$800 000 in the High Court on Wednesday morning after being incarcerated for nearly two years.
“The reasons for the granting of bail are not available at the moment. As you have heard, the matter has been postponed to 21 December for the reasons to be made available. What came out was the court order, and the state is not in a position to indicate whether the decision was right or wrong,” she told the Villager.
She further said that in terms of the law, the state has the power to take necessary action should it not be satisfied with the outcome of a court’s decision.
“We cannot express what the state should do currently, given the fact that we are not in possession of the reasons to see how the court reasoned by granting bail to the accused person. When we get the reasons and study them, we’ll be able to express our position,” the PG said.
“If you followed the proceedings when the prosecutors gave their testimony, we have indicated our grounds for objecting for him to be granted bail. If bail is granted, it was granted by the court. The court is not the prosecution.”
“The court exercised its discretion.”
The Anti-corruption commission agreed with the PG’s sentiments, with deputy director-general Erna van der Merwe stating that they too would only know their next move regarding Gustavo once they peruse the reasons behind the judge Oosthuizen’s order.
Quizzed on whether this was an indication towards an appeal against the high court’s decision, van der Merwe said, “if there are reasons. It is going to be problematic if the reasons are not given in the judgement, in my view. We cannot request the reasons, which means there will be a delay. Should the state wish to appeal, the PG’s office would be better to approach for her stance.”
Judge Oosthuizen stated that the complete judgement will be released on 21 December 2021 at 15h00 in the afternoon as it is still being typed and edited.
The judge handed Gustavo some stringent conditions granting his bail.
He will have to report twice daily at the Kappsfarm police station between 07h00 – 08h00 and 12h00 – 13h00 and sign any attendance register provided by and with the officer on duty before leaving the station.
“The accused shall report every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between the hours 08h00 and 11h00 with one of the investigating officers at the head office of the ACC,” he further ordered.
Gustavo, who resides in the upmarket Finkenstein Estate, 12 km east of Windhoek, will not be permitted to leave it between 14h00 and 07h00 the next day and will be on house arrest in the evenings.
He will also not be permitted any travel documents or travel 22km beyond the city of Windhoek head office or 25km near the Hosea Kutako international airport or 1km near the Eros Airport in Windhoek.
Gustavo is accused of having used fisheries agreements between Namibia and Angola to get access to fishing quotas to benefit him and the other fishrot accused, which include former fisheries minister Bernard Esau, former justice minister SackyShanghla and his former colleague at Investec James Hatuikulipi.
Esau is alleged to have allocated 50 000 metric tonnes of horse mackerel quotas to Namgomar Pesca Namibia, of which Gustavo was the director, from 2014 to 2019.
NamgomarPesca Namibia then sold those quotas to Samherji. During the bail hearing and cross-examination, the state alleges that payments were dished out amongst the fishrot accused.