NPA still pursuing extraditing the Guptas, Bushiri

Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola (pictured) wants the Guptas and prophet Shepherd Bushiri to be extradited to South Africa to face corruption charges in court. File Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola (pictured) wants the Guptas and prophet Shepherd Bushiri to be extradited to South Africa to face corruption charges in court. File Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Published Sep 28, 2023


Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola is hoping to hear from authorities in the United Arab Emirates soon on the request by South Africa for information regarding the Guptas before the country can re-submit an extradition request.

The government has been trying to get the Guptas back in the country to face charges over state capture, following the investigation by the Zondo Commission of Inquiry that implicated the brothers in alleged corruption.

Lamola’s spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said on Thursday they were waiting for the UAE to give them the information they requested before re-submitting the extradition request.

The UAE court refused to extradite the Guptas in April and this led to the Minister of Justice saying he will appeal the decision.

Atul and Rajesh Gupta are wanted by the local authorities over alleged corruption during the time of former president Jacob Zuma.

Phiri said they have held meetings with senior officials in the UAE over the matter.

He said the application for extradition will be sent to the UAE once questions raised by South Africa in the diplomatic note they sent in June have been sufficiently dealt with.

“On August 18 and 28, 2023, respectively, the Minister and Director-General directed letters to their counterparts in the UAE stating South Africa’s position that despite the UAE’s invitation to submit a new extradition request, it remains necessary to first obtain clarity on the questions asked previously by the Central Authority of South Africa in order to assess the matter before a decision can be taken to submit a new extradition request.

“The department has not yet received a response to the correspondence and the South African Embassy in Abu Dhabi is following-up in this regard,” said Phiri.

On the issue of the extradition of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, from Malawi, the matter will return to court on October 10 where the State will bring witnesses to give evidence.

The matter has been dragging for three years when the Bushiris left the country while out on bail on fraud charges in court in Pretoria.

Lamola has been fighting for the Bushiris to return to the country to face trial.

Phiri said the matter has been heard in court in Malawi.

“During May 25 to 31 May 31, a delegation of South African prosecutors and an official of the Department of Justice travelled to Malawi to assist the Malawian prosecutors with the preparation for the hearing that was scheduled for May 30.

“On May 30, the matter was postponed due to arguments raised on behalf of the Bushiris that South Africa’s extradition request was not properly authenticated. The South African prosecutors prepared arguments to assist the Malawian prosecutors with the filing of supplementary affidavits for purposes of the interim application where the legal team of the Bushiris is again trying to stop the extradition processes.

“On August 10, the formal application brought by the Bushiris was argued in court and thereafter postponed to September 11, for a ruling by the court. On September 11, the Magistrate gave judgment during which she indicated that the extradition request was in fact not certified in terms of the Malawi’s Extradition Act.

“The State, however, was afforded an opportunity to re-certify the request. The matter has been postponed to October 10, on which date state representatives will give testimony,” said Phiri.

On the extradition of alleged Rwandan genocide fugitive Fulgence Kayishema, Phiri said his case will be back in court on November 1.

Kayishema is wanted for the alleged killing of thousands of Tutsi refugees at a church during the 1994 genocide.

He is wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, that was set up by the UN to investigate and prosecute those who were involved in the genocide.

Kayishema was arrested in Cape Town a few months ago for his alleged role in the genocide.

Phiri said South Africa has been involved in engagements with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda over the extradition of Kayishema.

“The request cannot be executed as a normal extradition request under the Extradition Act, 1962 (Act No. 67 of 1962), or in accordance with the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, 2002 (Act No. 27 of 2002), as requests from tribunals do not fall within the ambit of this legislation.

“The position is that there is no domestic legislative framework to deal with the mechanism’s request. The request is being dealt with in accordance with South Africa’s international law obligations.

“The matter was transferred to the High Court, and has been set down for hearing on November 1, 2023. It is worth noting that along with the IRMCT (International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals) request, Mr Kayishema is also being charged with 51 counts of contravening the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002), and three counts of fraud,” said Phiri.

Kayishema will appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on October 27 for violating immigration laws and fraud charges.

He said the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs was also seeking to revoke his refugee status, but a decision is yet to be made.

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