South Africa-Guptas-Extradition

S/Africa: Prosecutors vow to bring Guptas ‘home’

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

South African prosecutors have vowed to bring “home” the Indian-born Gupta brothers to face the law for alleged crimes committed under the rule of their friend and former president Jacob Zuma before they bolted from justice for the United Arab Emirates five years ago.

National Prosecution Authority (NPA) spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga on Wednesday said the NPA had already submitted the request for provisional arrest warrants through the appropriate channels – a formality that needed to be complied with. 

“In terms of the extradition treaty between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, South Africa has 60 days from the date of arrest to submit the formal extradition application,” Mhaga said.  

He added: “The NPA is on track to finalise this process in close consultation with relevant authorities in the UAE and Interpol as required, acting in full compliance with domestic and international legal obligations relating to extradition.”

He said diplomatic and political aspects were being dealt with in parallel by colleagues in the Ministries of Justice and International Relations and Cooperation, noting that the extradition processes were complex and each one has its peculiar dynamics -- depending on the country involved.

“We have previously explained why we will not be commenting on the legal dimensions of the case at this early stage, and this remains our position for important legal and case-specific reasons,” the official said.

He noted with concern “the widespread misinformation and speculation about how the NPA and its leadership is handling this complex legal process.”

“While we recognise the public interest in this matter, we must focus on delivering on our constitutional mandate and responsibilities without distraction, and without fear or favour. The NPA welcomes constructive criticism,” he added.

However, he said, recent irresponsible reports about the NPA’s apparent "mishandling" of the process, or failing to respond to UAE requests, are not accurate, and should be dismissed as dangerous speculation, or politically and personally motivated attacks to undermine the NPA and its leadership during this process.

The Gupta brothers lived in South Africa from 1993 to 2018 before they ran away from the law to live in Dubai until the arrest of two of them some weeks ago.

NM/jn/APA

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