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Now it’s up to UAE to extradite the Gupta brothers, JCS department says

The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services says the ball is now in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) court to extradite Atul and Rajesh Gupta to South Africa to face charges of fraud.

Spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said the trial would have to be preceded by confirmation from Abu Dhabi if the brothers were in the country and, if so, Pretoria’s request for their extradition would be processed.

The National ProsecutorThe independent directorate has confirmed that the global police agency Interpol issued a Red Notice this week against the brothers, who are wanted in connection with the R24.9 million Nulane Investment fraud and money laundering charges.

The case was expected to come before the Supreme Court in Bloemfontein in June. A Red Notice can be issued by Interpol for crimes such as fraud, murder or theft, but no request can be made for a politically motivated offence.

Phiri said they hoped that now that the UAE had ratified an international agreement paving the way for their extradition, the Guptas would be returned to SA. It remains to be seen when that will happen. The UAE had previously refused to cooperate with SA on this matter.

ALSO READ: Guptas may want to flee Dubai, but kids and Atul don’t have passports

But last year, the UAE ratified the extradition agreement and is therefore obliged to process it. Phiri said the fact that the UAE took so long to ratify the agreement was a cause for concern for SA. Last year, another row broke out between the UAE and SA over the delayed extradition.

At the time, Pretoria accused the UAE of refusing to cooperate, despite the previously existing mechanism of working together to tackle crime and corruption between them.

Both countries are signatories to Article 44 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and South Africa ratified the convention in 2004. The UAE ambassador to SA Mahash Alhameli said late last year that the agreements on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and extradition between SA and his country were signed in 2018.

The Guptas left SA in 2018 shortly after their ally, then-President Jacob Zuma, was recalled and is reportedly in Dubai. Zuma’s son Duduzane was their business partner, but he has not been charged.

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