Guptas in NPA sights after UAE ratifies extradition
The NPA's Independent Directorate (ID) – established specifically to deal with high-profile corruption cases — has wasted no time beginning the process to get Atul and Ajay Gupta, their wives and four business associates extradited from the UAE.
This emerged after news yesterday that an agreement between SA and the UAE on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and extradition, signed in 2018, had now been was ratified by both countries, with the UAE doing so on 11 April.
This was confirmed in a statement yesterday by Mahash Alhameli, the UAE ambassador to SA, according to a News24 report.
The statement was issued just days after the ID said it asked Interpol to circulate an international arrest warrant to have the Guptas deported to SA to stand trial for fraud and money laundering.
The statement also indicated that the extradition agreement was aimed at ‘preventing crime on the basis of mutual respect for the sovereignty of both countries, strengthening co-operation in combating serious crimes, including organised crime, and ensuring that criminals were not denied bail’.
The ID wants to try the Guptas in connection with R25m spent on a feasibility study to determine the viability of the failed Estina dairy farm in Vrede in the Free State.
The Gupta brothers fled the country in 2018, and are reportedly in the UAE.
Advocate JJ Du Toit, retired deputy director of the NPA who managed extraditions, is confident ratification of the agreement will speed up the extraditions.
He is quoted in Beeld as saying the agreement makes provision for extradition for specific crimes which includes corruption.
Du Toit says he is convinced Interpol knows where the Guptas are.
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