South Africa has formally requested the United Arab Emirates to extradite Rajesh and Atul Gupta, two brothers who face corruption charges linked to the tenure of former President Jacob Zuma, the justice minister said on Monday 25 July 2022.
“We can confirm that the extradition request was duly submitted today to the central authority of the United Arab Emirates,” Ronald Lamola told reporters.
South Africa had 60 days to submit the request, after Dubai police arrested the Guptas in June.
The brothers are accused of using their relationship with Zuma, head of state from 2009 to 2018, to win contracts, influence cabinet appointments and embezzle state funds. Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.
South Africa’s National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shamila Batohi, said the extradition process could take several months, declining to give a more specific timeline.
She said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) considers the submission of the extradition request an important step in attempts to hold perpetrators of corruption accountable.
“What I want to assure the people of South Africa is that as the NPA we will not pursue legal action unless we are satisfied ourselves that it meets the reasonable prospect standard. of a successful prosecution,” she said.
Dubai police arrested the Guptas on the basis of an Interpol “red notice”, a request to law enforcement agencies around the world to locate and provisionally arrest a person awaiting extradition.
The United Arab Emirates ratified an extradition treaty with South Africa in April 2021, a move the South African government hoped would lead to the Guptas returning to face charges.