No guarantee Gupta brothers will be extradited: South Africa minister
Protesters carry a cardboard mock up coffin reading ‘Run Guptas run’ and with the names of the people implicated in the Public Protector “State Capture” report as members and supporters of the South African opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), demonstrate against South African president Jacob Zuma and in support of the release of the South African Public Protector “State Capture” report in Pretoria on November 2, 2016.
(Photo by GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP via Getty Images)
WHILE legal experts believe the government of South Africa will do its best to bring the Gupta brothers, accused of fraud, and money-laundering, from the United Arab Emirates where they were recently arrested, minister in the African nation’s presidency Mondli Gungubele is keeping his fingers crossed.
According to a report by South Africa’s Times Live, Gungubele has said that the government has no guarantee that the brothers – Atul Gupta and Rajesh Gupta – will be extradited to South Africa to undergo trial on corruption and other allegations.
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The duo were recently arrested in Dubai after the Interpol issued red notices for them earlier this year.
South Africa to file extradition request for Gupta brothers within 2 months
The arrests were welcomed by politicians, civil organisations and people in general.
Gungubele, who was speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town over a cabinet meeting which was held on Wednesday (8), said he hoped that the relationship between South Africa and the UAE would see a positive outcome in the case.
“We don’t have that guarantee, but with the relationship that occurs between us and the UAE, one would expect something better. I’ll be surprised [if they are not extradited], considering the code and the principles of Interpol because they make sure countries work together in dealing with crime,” he said.
On Monday (6), the Cyril Ramaphosa government of South Africa said law-enforcement authorities in the UAE arrested Rajesh and Atul Gupta who have been accused of using their ties with former South African president Jacob Zuma to make financial gains and even influence top appointments.
Extradition not an easy process, says Gungubele
The minister in the presidency acknowledged that extradition is not an easy process but added that he would be surprised if the accused were not brought to the South African soil.
“I would be surprised if it does not lead to them coming here. I’d also be surprised if they are not arrested on the basis of exactly what they did in SA, but I wouldn’t say there’s a guarantee because that’s not a simple process,” he said.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the South African government agency responsible for state prosecutions, said earlier this week that the extradition process was complex and involved many role players, including the executive, the Times Live report added.
The NPA said it had an experienced team of experts working closely with law enforcement and other players in the criminal justice system on the matter.
“Extradition is a complex process involving many role players, including the executive. It would therefore not be appropriate for the NPA to discuss the details of that process in the media, but we can confirm we are engaging with relevant authorities in SA and UAE,” the authority was quoted as saying.