RICARDO Gustavo, who approached the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court with a formal bail application, will have to wait until the 3rd of June for Magistrate Johaness Shuuveni to deliver judgement on whether or not he will be granted bail.
Gustavo’s formal bail application started last Friday and ended this morning with the state submitting closing arguments.
Today, state Advocate Cliff Lutibezi strongly objected to the granting of bail, saying that Gustavo poses a risk of interfering with investigations. It was also argued that it would not be in the interest of justice or public interest to grant bail.
Gustavo last week told the court that he is the father of five children, who all financially depend on him. His elderly parents and ex-wife are also dependent on him, he said. Having lost his job as a senior manager at Investec Asset Management as a result of the ongoing fisheries corruption case, the applicant said he has lost all sources of income.
Advocate Litubezi conceded that although the matter is not that of murder and that no lives were lost, the charges Gustavo faces are that if a serious matter which includes economic sabotage. He was replying to the defence team’s argument that Gustavo poses no danger to society.
“It is not worth the risk to release the applicant on bail. This is a person who admitted to signing papers of a non-existent company, the Director of Namangor Pesca South Africa, which was also aimed at benefiting from fishing quotas. Even though no one was killed in the commission of the crime, the economy has been killed. These are substantial amounts of money that could have been used to build schools and hospitals. These are serious crimes,” the state argued.
Advocate Lutibezi took issue with the fact that while Gustavo insists that he wants to clear his name by standing trial, he refused to comment on the allegations put to him, saying that a prima facie case has been made out.
“He should have commented on the allegations to show this court that no prima facie case has been made out. His defence would have made it easier for the court in deciding that a prima facie case hasn’t been made out. This case has generated public outcry not only here but also in Iceland, as evidenced in the protests. Ministers are involved; some have resigned from their jobs, including the fisheries minister Victoria De Barros Neto of Angola. There is genuine public interest,” the state argued in closing.
The 42-year-old applicant at the start of his formal bail application informed the court that he is willing to pay a total of N$100 000 for bail with assistance from his friends and family members.