The government of the United Arab Emirates has denied the South African Government’s request to Extradite the Gupta Brothers. The two brothers Atul and Rajesh Gupta are known to have been part of various activities of corruption in cooperation with then-President Jacob Zuma.
The Indian fugitives are claimed to have used their connections with the president to win various contracts, influence cabinet appointments, and steal money from the state funds.
The Minister of Justice and correctional services of South Africa Ronald Lamola confirmed on Friday that their plea to extradite the fugitives has been denied by the UAE government. South Africa received a diplomatic communication from the government of UAE on the 6th of April, stating that they decided on the 13th of Feb in a UAE court.
“In the evening of the 6th of April 2023, we were provided with a note verbale from the UAE in which we learned with shock and dismay that an extradition hearing had been concluded in the UAE courts on the 13th of February 2023 and our extradition request was unsuccessful,” says Lamola.
The court ruled that UAE had the jurisdiction to take legal action against the Gupta brothers as they have been accused of various fraudulent activities in the UAE. Lamola has reported that they will proceed to appeal against this dismissal of the extradition request by the UAE government.
The Guptas stole billions of Rands from state resources and committed other scandalous acts
The reasons for the denial of their claim have been told of technical nature. Moreover, Mr. Lamola points out that this decision is contrasting with the legal implications instructed by the United Nations.
The South African minister states the actions from the UAE government are against Article 17 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, to which both nations are signatories. The Justice Minister has stated that this decision is very disappointing and that they will continue to appeal for justice.
The Gupta family is an extremely rich business conglomerate based in Sahara State, Johannesburg, in Saxonwold South Africa. The family has companies in various industries including information and communication technologies, real estate, mining, media, and entertainment.
The family migrated from Uttar Pradesh, a state in the northern part of India to South Africa in the early 1900s. Their first venture in South Africa started with the establishment of Sahara Computers, a hardware distribution Company, and Sahara PLC.
The Gupta brothers own various mines throughout the country, including Oakbay Resources and Energy, The Shiva Uranium Mine, Tegeta Exploration and Resources, and VR Laser services.TNA Media and Infinity Media, a news channel, were some of their ventures in the media field. Guptas were constantly scrutinized due to their close relationship with Jacob Zuma before and during his presidency.
According to the reports, Zuma was first acquainted with the Gupta family at a family function at the Sahara estate, and Ever since their families maintained a close bond.
Zuma’s close relatives like his wife and children have apparently worked in the Gupta family’s offices and later resigned.
The Gupta family also supported Mr. Zuma during his power struggle for leadership with ANC and then President Thabo Mbeki in 2005. It was in 2016, a series of allegations rose against the Gupta family.
And, in May 2017, numerous emails were leaked to the public from the Guptas and their associates adjoining them in efforts to appoint government ministers and heads of government-owned companies in addition to coordinating activities with political figures associated with President Zuma for their profits.
The Guptas’ impact on the presidency has been described by Zwelinzima Vavi, the former General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, as a “shadow government.” However, all these allegations of Guptas and Zuma closely associating were denied by both parties.
Their closeness was titled ‘Zupta’, and this term widely gained popularity. Zupta was commonly used by the detractors of both The Gupta family and Zuma.
The name was first coined by the Economic Freedom Fighters in 2016. Due to an investigation started by the judicial commission, the Gupta brothers were forced to flee from the country in 2018.
Their family was untouchable for so long due to their friendship with President Zuma. Interpol issued a red notice in 2022, against two of the Gupta brothers Atul and Rajesh Gupta after the South African government pleaded for the red notice seven months ago.
Red notices are issued by Interpol as a warning to all the nations that are members of Interpol to look out for fugitives.
But the request for the issue of a Red Notice against their wives – Arathi and Chethali Gupta was however neglected. The brothers were arrested in Dubai on 6 June 2022.