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Two Gupta brothers arrested in Dubai for crimes in SA

SOUTH Africa’s war against fraud and corruption has received a major boost after authorities in Dubai arrested two of the three Gupta brothers implicated in state capture.

Atul and Rajesh Gupta were arrested on an Interpol “Red Notice”. The third brother – Ajay – was not arrested. 

The South African government has confirmed that it has been informed of the arrest of the two brothers in the United Arab Emirates. 

“Discussions between the various law enforcement agencies in UAE and South Africa on the way forward are ongoing. The South African government will continue to co-operate with the UAE,” the country’s Ministry of Justice and Correctional Service said in a statement.

In March, Interpol issued “red notices” urging the arrest of the Gupta brothers – friends of former president Jacob Zuma – and some of their associates for alleged fraud, South African prosecutors have announced.

A red notice is a request to law enforcement officials worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action.

At the time, South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said in a statement that the notices had also been issued for the two Guptas’ wives and several business associates.

The notices relate to suspected fraud worth 25 million rand ($1.76 million) involving the Free State province’s agriculture department.

A criminal case has been transferred to the Bloemfontein High Court for trial in September, the NPA added.

Reuters could not reach the Guptas or their representatives for comment but both Zuma and the Guptas issued blanket denials of wrongdoing during Zuma’s nine years in power until 2018.

Their relationship is one of the main areas of focus of a judicial inquiry into allegations of high-level corruption while Zuma was president.

Zuma has refused to cooperate with the inquiry despite a court order to appear and give evidence.

The Constitutional Court has sentenced him to 15 months’ imprisonment for defying that order, but Zuma has asked the court to cancel the sentence.

The Indian-born brothers left South Africa after Zuma was ousted as head of state, and are believed to be in Dubai.

The United Arab Emirates this year ratified an extradition treaty with South Africa, a move that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government hopes will lead to the return of the Guptas to face charges.

“Efforts to bring the Guptas back have intensified,” the NPA said.

By The African Mirror

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