June 5, 2023

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South Africa’s attempt to extradite Gupta from the UAE fails

image source, South African government

photo caption,

Atul Gupta (left), one of the brothers accused of having a corrupt relationship with former President Zuma (right)

South Africa’s attempt to deport two brothers of the wealthy Gupta family from the United Arab Emirates has failed.

Atul and Rajesh Gupta are accused in South Africa of profiting from their close links to former President Jacob Zuma and of exercising unfair influence.

The Justice Department said it learned with “shock and dismay” about the move.

The brothers, who have denied any wrongdoing, fled after a judicial committee began investigating a major corruption scandal.

The Indian-born Guptas were arrested in the United Arab Emirates last June and extradition talks with South Africa began.

But the UAE said it rejected the extradition request on technical grounds.

In a brief statement, carried by the Emirates News Agency, it said that a review “found that the application does not meet the strict standards of legal documentation as set out in the extradition agreement between the UAE and South Africa,” which entered into force for a period of two years. since.

The statement added that some of the papers were either incorrect in the case of the fraud charge or missing in the case of the corruption charge.

South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamula said the decision was made in February but was not communicated to South Africa until Thursday.

“The reasons given for rejecting our application are inexplicable and contradict assurances given by the UAE authorities that our applications meet their requirements,” Lamola was quoted by South Africa’s Mail & Guardian as saying.

The UAE government says the South African authorities are able to resubmit the extradition request with new and additional documents.

Earlier, Lamola said his government will appeal the decision.

In recent weeks, there have been media reports that the brothers are no longer in detention and have been spotted in Switzerland.

The Department of Justice could not confirm this or whether the brothers, who have been granted South African citizenship, had obtained passports from the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu.

This news is a blow to South Africa’s fight to bring the Guptas to justice.

It found that the brothers, who once enjoyed unfettered access to power that became known as “state capture,” attempted to influence political and economic decisions.

Many of the most serious allegations center on their relationship with Zuma, who was South Africa’s president from 2009 until he was forced to step down amid a storm of corruption allegations after nine years.

The Gupta family is accused of using its close ties to Zuma to win business contracts, influence high-level government appointments and embezzle state funds.

Zuma, along with the Guptas, denied the allegations.

South Africa negotiated an extradition agreement with the UAE in 2021, three years after the brothers fled the country.

More on the Guptas in South Africa:

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