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By: Andrew Kathindi

Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa says she’ll need to study the full reasonings behind High court judge Herman Oosthuizen’s decision to grant fishrot accused Ricardo Gustavo bail.
Gustavo was released on bail on 15 December; however, the reasons behind the judge’s decision were only released on Tuesday.

“It’s not the mere fact that I have seen reasons means I already know what is happening,” she told The Villager.
This comes as judge Oosthuizen said he wasn’t convinced that Gustavo would be found guilty of all or some of the charges.
Quizzed on her stance on the judge’s claim, Imalwa said, “I don’t want to answer questions, piece by piece. I need to understand the legality of everything said in the judgment and pronounce the state’s position. Currently, I am still working, trying to understand the court’s reasoning.”
Oosthuizen said that he believes that the fishrot trial, the pretrial for which is set for next month, may take 2 to 4 years to complete, if not more.
“I am not convinced thereof that the accused will be found guilty of all or some of the offences charged with. It is common cause that I do not sit as a judge in the criminal case. I adjudicate on a bail application,” he said.
Gustavo’s bail was set for N$800 000, which he has paid.
Judge Oosthuizen argued that the bail amount and conditions of bail are rationally connected to Gustavo’s earning ability.
He also said it was based on the financial support of his immediate family members, the financial support of his prospective employer, the impression he made on the court while testifying, and the seriousness of the charges levelled against him.
While Gustavo’s case and the entire fishrot saga have drawn public opinion in numbers, Oosthuizen said that “Social Media opinions, public gatherings and public demonstrations are not a barometer of public interest a court should consider.”
“That is an expression of fundamental freedoms under Article 21(a) and (b) of which elected members of Parliament or members of the Executive should take cognisance in formulating legislation and policies.”
Gustavo was handed strict bail conditions in exchange for his freedom.
He will not be permitted to leave his upmarket Finkenstein Estate, 12 km east of Windhoek, between 14h00 and 07h00 the next day and will be on house arrest in the evenings.
He will also have to report twice daily at the Kappsfarm Police Station between the hours 07h00 – 08h00 and 12h00 – 13h00 and sign any attendance register provided by and with the officer on duty before leaving the Kappsfarm Police Station.
The former Investec Client Manager 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 Sacky Shanghai and his former colleague at Investec James Hatuikulipi.
Esau allegedly allocated 50 000 metric tonnes of horse mackerel quotas to Namgomar Pesca Namibia, of which Gustavo was the director, from 2014 to 2019.
Namgomar Pesca 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.

Julia Heita

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