South Africa has submitted a formal extradition application to the Central Authority in the United Arab Emirates for the extradition of the Gupta brothers (Rajesh Kumar Gupta and Atul Kumar Gupta), the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) Director Shamila Batohi confirmed yesterday.
South Africa had 60 days to submit the request, after Dubai police arrested the infamous Gupta brothers in June.
The brothers are suspected of having used their connections with Jacob Zuma, former President of SA between 2009 and 2018, to win contracts, influence cabinet appointments and siphon off state funds. Zuma and the Guptas have denied all wrongdoing.
The brothers are wanted by the South African authorities to answer to charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering.
“The application, submitted in both English and Arabic, addresses the general requirements for extradition which, if met, would allow the extradition to be granted under either the existing Extradition Treaty or the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), or both,” Batohi said.
“The NPA team, in close collaboration with the office of the CA, worked relentlessly and focused on complying with legal requirements of the Extradition Treaty and UNCAC,” Batohi said.
Batohi said the submission is an important milestone in the NPA’s commitment to hold accountable perpetrators of State Capture and uphold the rule of law.
“It reaffirms our resolve to be the lawyers of the people and seek collective justice for our country,” Batohi said. She assured South Africans that “as the NPA we do not bring cases unless we ourselves are satisfied that it meets the standard of reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution.”
She explained that as the process unfolds, and the extradition application is heard in UAE courts, the NPA will continue to collaborate and support its counterparts in the UAE to ensure that the Gupta brothers are extradited to face justice in South Africa.
“The country demands this of us, and we are ready to keep moving to bring justice,” she said.
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Speaking at the same media briefing, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said he is confident that the teams handling the extradition of the Gupta brothers, among other high-profile accused persons, are up to the task.
“The matter is now with the central authority in the UAE, who are then going to process it in their jurisdictions, which will obviously include processes and courts to determine whether the Gupta brothers are extraditable to South Africa and when a court has made that ruling. It will then be for the Minister of justice in the UAE to make the decision,” Lamola said.
Current Affairs show Carte Blanche last month chartered the ‘full circle’ that Guptagate has taken. “It seems a lifetime ago that, along with other colleagues in the media, I covered the infamous takeover of Waterkloof Air Force Base by the Guptas,” says John Webb, Carte Blanche Executive Producer. “What would we have said back then had we known the full extent of the damage they would do to our country?” (You can watch this episode and more on Showmax International if you’re abroad.)
Sources include – SAnews.gov.za, NPA, Reuters