South Africa
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UAE request to resubmit Gupta’s extradition delaying process, says Justice Dept

The South African government wants clarity on the Gupta brothers matter.

The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services has said a request by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to resubmit an extradition application for the Gupta brothers is stalling the process to bring the siblings back to South Africa.

The ministry provided an update on Thursday on the status of number of extradition cases from and to South Africa.

There is the a request from the Criminal Tribunal to extradite former Rwandan police officer Fulgence Kayishema, accused of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1994 conflict between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda. However, the justice ministry said, purse this was more of a request than an extradition. There is also the case of self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary, then the Gupta brothers Atul and Rajesh among others.

UAE meeting

Justice ministry spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri told The Citizen minister Ronald Lamola met with his counterpart Abdullah Sultan Awad Al Nuaim and other UAE prosecuting authorities in June to discuss the extradition of Rajesh and Atul.

However, Phiri said the UAE Central Authority had sent a request to South Africa to urgently resubmit a new extradition request for the Gupta brothers.

As a result, Phiri said, the South African government wanted clarity on the matter.

“We want clarity first on what went wrong with our extradition request to start off with. And this is because when we submitted our extradition request the first time, we acted on instructions of the UAE government, they guided us through the process.

“It is, however, our view that a new extradition request can only be submitted to the UAE once the questions raised in our Note Verbale dated 19 June 2023, have been sufficiently answered by the UAE,” Phiri said.

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The next step

Phiri said if this failed, they would take the matter further.

“Secondly, we have said previously that in the event where we don’t get any joy on these extradition processes from the UAE, we reserve our rights to escalate this [matter] to the United Nations … in terms of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, which South Africa and the UAE are signatories to.

 “That is a body that would assist us to really ensure that justice is essentially done or some mechanism is applied to the UAE for failing to uphold its own policy, especially because you cannot reject that extradition request on a technicality,” Phiri said.

Zuma’s friends

Rajesh and Atul, friends of former president Jacob Zuma, are accused of using their relationship with the former president to profit financially and influence senior government appointments. The two families, famously named “The Zuptas”, are fingered in state capture but deny any wrongdoing.

An Interpol red notice was issued for the Gupta brothers who are wanted for widespread graft, fraud and money laundering.

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