Namibia: Fishrot Accused Pleads for Bail

“I consider, and I verily achieve this, that the general public’s curiosity is to not see me rotting in pretrial detention.”

This was a part of a seven-minute tackle which Ricardo Gustavo, former director of Investec Asset Administration in Namibia and since late November 2019 one of many males dealing with prices within the Fishrot fishing quota fraud and corruption case, made throughout his bail listening to within the Windhoek Excessive Courtroom yesterday.

Addressing decide Herman Oosthuizen from the witness stand on the finish of the primary a part of his testimony, earlier than the beginning of cross-examination by the state, Gustavo (46) mentioned: “I stand earlier than this courtroom maybe just like the biblical David towards Goliath.”

Holding up a duplicate of Namibia’s Structure, he continued: “I stand earlier than this courtroom armed solely with this doc. That is my hope, my lord. The Structure of the republic.”

Namibia is a constitutional democracy, Gustavo mentioned. “I am presumed harmless till confirmed responsible, however so far, the angle of the state has been that I am responsible till I show myself harmless,” he mentioned.

He appears like a boxer whose stronger arm is tied behind his again whereas he’s anticipated “to struggle the total would possibly of the state [with its] infinite assets”, Gustavo mentioned.

The general public’s curiosity is to see that justice is finished and that the case during which he’s charged involves an finish, he mentioned. “The general public’s curiosity is to not see individuals imprisoned, combating pretrial detention.”

Earlier than these remarks, Gustavo advised the decide he could possibly be positioned underneath home arrest if granted bail.

He’s additionally ready to put on a International Positioning System bracelet by way of which his actions may be monitored, and to lift cash to allow the police or Anti-Corruption Fee to trace his whereabouts with such a tool, he mentioned.

With assist from family, he would be capable of increase N$100 000 for a bail deposit, he advised the decide.

Beforehand in his testimony, he described his monetary state of affairs as “dire” because of a Prevention of Organised Crime Act order which has in impact frozen his financial institution accounts and prevents him from promoting any property to lift cash.

Jail is “a crushing setting” which impacts a detainee not solely bodily but in addition mentally and spiritually, he mentioned.

The costs Gustavo is dealing with are linked to his involvement within the firm Namgomar Pesca Namibia, by way of which Icelandic-owned fishing firms secured entry to Namibian fishing quotas which had supposedly been allotted to an Angolan firm underneath a fisheries cooperation settlement between Namibia and Angola.

He has advised the courtroom he’s denying guilt on all prices and might be standing his trial if launched on bail, as he believes he didn’t commit the crimes of which he’s accused. He believes the state doesn’t have a powerful case towards him, he additionally mentioned.