Pretoria - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has confirmed that they were engaging with their counterparts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to facilitate the extradition of the Guptas to South Africa to stand trial for their alleged role in state capture.
NPA national spokesperson advocate Mthunzi Mhaga made the confirmation today following media inquiries about plans to extradite the two brothers, Atul and Rajesh Gupta following their arrest in the UAE yesterday after Interpol issued a red-alert against them.
Commenting on the confirmation of the arrests, Mhaga said: “Extradition is a complex process involving many role players, including the executive.
It would therefore not be appropriate for the NPA to discuss the details of that process in the media but can confirm that we are engaging with relevant authorities in SA and the UAE,” he said.
Mhaga said the NPA has an experienced team of internal and external experts who are working closely with law enforcement and their partners in the criminal justice system on the matter.
Political parties and civil society organisations have hailed the arrests and are now asking the government and law enforcement agencies to move quickly and ensure that the two Gupta brothers face the music in South African courts.
AfriForum said it welcomed the arrest of the Gupta brothers.
AfriForum’s Ernst van Zyl, said: “This arrest is a step in the direction of justice, but there is still a long way to go and AfriForum has some demands that will help justice prevail.
“South Africa and the United Arab Emirates signed an extradition agreement in April 2021, but it is not yet clear whether the arrest will lead to the brothers’ return to South Africa.”
Van Zyl said AfriForum therefore demands that the Gupta brothers get their day in court in South Africa and that a proper investigation be conducted into the ties between the Guptas and South African politicians. He also said that the Guptas could not be allowed to slip away in a dubious way, so the situation must be closely monitored.
“The country has been paralysed for years by unprecedented levels of corruption and millions have become discouraged with the lack of culprits that face the consequences for their long fingers,” Van Zyl said.
Similar sentiments were expressed by the DA, Cope and Freedom Front Plus.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa’s) Stephanie Fick also welcomed the news that the Gupta brothers charged in the Nulane corruption case in the Free State, have been arrested in Dubai.
The charges were brought against the brothers after Nulane Investments Director, Iqbal Sharma allegedly received a R25m tender to complete a feasibility survey on the Estina dairy project in the Free State. The survey was outsourced to Deloitte for R1.5m and R21m was then paid over to Islandsite Investments - a company in which Atul and Rajesh Gupta and their wives were directors.
“We've always said that fighting corruption in SA requires resilience. That if the rule of law is allowed to take its course, those implicated will eventually get their day in court. It seems like that day is around the corner for the Gupta kingpins,” Fick said.
She further said “This is a major step forward in the prosecution of state capture culprits.”
Rudie Heyneke, Outa’s lead investigator on state capture matters, also welcomed the arrest. “It put an end to rumours about the Gupta family’s whereabouts, and with their arrest out of the way, we’re hoping that more arrests and swift prosecutions will follow.”
Outa has investigated the Gupta Leaks, and shared information on their findings with law enforcement authorities. It also made several section 27 referrals to the NPA to assist in their investigations into state capture.