South Africa

South Africa revives Gupta extradition bid

Ronald Lamola

South Africa’s Justice Ministry said it will renew its attempt to extradite Atul and Rajesh Gupta from the United Arab Emirates after holding talks with the Gulf state’s authorities.

A joint task team will meet on June 15 to examine the requests for extradition afresh, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Gupta brothers are wanted in South Africa on charges of money laundering and fraud. A judicial inquiry into corruption detailed close links between the brothers and former President Jacob Zuma during his nine-year rule — an era known as state capture, when the government estimates that more than R500 billion was stolen from its coffers. Zuma and the Guptas have denied wrongdoing.

The Guptas were arrested in the UAE in June 2022 after Interpol placed them on its most-wanted list.

Two months ago, the UAE announced it had denied the South African authorities’ petition to extradite them and cancelled their arrests after finding the request failed to meet the UAE’s “strict standards for legal documentation.”

Wednesday’s announcement comes after South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola met his UAE counterpart, Abdullah Sultan Awad Al Nuaimi, on June 5 to discuss “enhancing the partnership in mutual legal assistance and extradition matters” for the benefit of both nations, the ministry said.

“The UAE has put in place all the necessary measures to meet its international obligations and assist and support South Africa in its quest to bring justice to the Republic of South Africa and the UAE,” it said.

The South African government has spent millions of rands on efforts to bring the Gupta brothers to justice. The only lawsuit in which the two men have been charged was recently thrown out of court after the judge labelled the state’s case against them and their co-accused as “lackadaisical.” An appeal is currently underway.


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