The United Arab Emirates has refused to extradite two members of the Gupta household to face allegations of systematic looting of the South African state over the previous decade.
The denial by a UAE courtroom of South Africa’s request for the extradition of Atul and Rajesh Gupta, wished by Pretoria on alleged fraud and cash laundering costs and arrested within the UAE final yr, was “stunning” and “inexplicable,” South Africa’s Justice Minister Ronald mentioned Lamola on Friday.
The UAE authorities instructed South African authorities on Thursday that the courtroom dominated in February that the Guptas couldn’t be surrendered regardless of an extradition treaty between the 2 nations, Lamola added.
“Now we have honored each letter of the extradition treaty between us and the UAE. . . so we’re confused by this verdict, which refers to formalities,” mentioned Lamola. The UAE authorities must attraction on behalf of South Africa, he added.
The refusal staggers South Africa’s efforts beneath President Cyril Ramaphosa to hunt justice for the nation’s largest post-apartheid scandal – the so-called conquest of the state beneath his predecessor Jacob Zuma, for the alleged good thing about firms managed by the South African Republic of Guptas.
A landmark inquest in South Africa final yr concluded that Zuma “already opened the doorways” for the trio of brothers to loot Eskom’s state electrical energy monopoly, now commonly affected by blackouts, and different sources with the connivance of the ruling African Nationwide Congress.
The Guptas fled South Africa and their mining-to-media empire collapsed when Zuma fell from energy in 2018. The Guptas and Zuma have at all times denied any wrongdoing.
Atul and Rajesh Gupta have been arrested within the United Arab Emirates in June final yr after being positioned on Interpol’s Purple Discover Checklist for a case in South Africa.
On the time, the arrest was a serious increase to the battle in opposition to corruption beneath Ramaphosa, who had been gradual to make progress with regulation enforcement. South Africa had requested the brothers’ extradition since July 2022.
The UAE mentioned in a press release that the Dubai Court docket of Enchantment had rejected the extradition request for Atul and Rajesh Gupta as a result of it failed to fulfill “the strict requirements of authorized documentation” within the extradition treaty.
The UAE obtained the extradition file in November after a number of conferences with South African authorities, and the request was forwarded to prosecutors for investigation, the assertion added. After three hearings, the Court docket of Enchantment dominated that the 2 males couldn’t be surrendered.
“At each step, the UAE’s judicial authorities stored their South African counterparts knowledgeable of the proceedings,” the assertion mentioned. The South African authorities might submit the extradition request once more, it mentioned.
The UAE courtroom ruling indicated that the Indian-born Guptas are residents of Vanuatu, the South Pacific island nation, Lamola mentioned. Vanuatu is one among a number of nations providing so-called golden visas, which confer citizenship in change for international funding.
Africa Intelligence reported this week that the Guptas have been seen in Switzerland, though they’re formally in custody within the UAE. South Africa’s Justice Division mentioned it had no info on the report.
Atul and Rajesh Gupta couldn’t be reached for remark.