South African Government Submits Formal Extradition For Gupta Brothers
The South African government on Monday officially submitted a formal application to the United Arab Emirates for extradition of the India-born Gupta brothers- Rajesh Gupta and Atul Gupta, reported The Africa News.
The two brothers, along with their elder brother Ajay, are accused of siphoning off billions of rands from state enterprises, allegedly by misusing their closeness to former president Jacob Zuma, who was the head of state from 2009 to 2018. They have been in self-exile in Dubai since the net closed in on them three years ago when a judicial inquiry was initiated into the matter.
“We can confirm that the extradition request has been duly submitted to the United Arab Emirates’ central authority today,” South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola told reporters.
South Africa had 60 days to submit the request, after Dubai police arrested the Guptas in June. The application was reportedly delayed for technical reasons, as it had to be submitted in both English and Arabic, the official language in Dubai.
Last month, the South African government announced that the UAE has detained Rajesh and Atul, the two of the three wealthy India-born brothers of the Gupta family.
The Gupta brothers reportedly used their relationship with former president Zuma to profit financially and influence senior appointments, charges that they continue to deny.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in South Africa said the application addresses the general requirements for extradition which, if met, would allow the extradition to be granted under either the existing Extradition Treaty or the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), or both.
Former South African president Zuma is also on trial for misappropriation of state funds during his tenure in collusion with the brothers, among others. He has denied the accusations.
The submission of the extradition application is the first step in a process that experts have warned could take years.