Gupta brothers still behind bars, Lamola tells Parliament

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  • Rajesh and Atul Gupta are in custody in the UAE, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said.
  • He said the extradition processes were still ongoing in the UAE.
  • He conceded that it could be a protracted process.

Rajesh and Atul Gupta are safely behind lock and key in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but it is not clear how soon they will be in South Africa to face justice for state capture.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola informed the National Assembly on Wednesday, during a question session with the peace and security cluster, that the brothers had applied for bail, but it was denied.

Responding to a question from ANC MP Xola Nqola, Lamola said: "On 25 July 2022, the official extradition request, along with the Arabic translation thereof, for the extradition of Messrs Atul Kumar Gupta and Rajesh Kumar Gupta – the Gupta brothers – were handed over to the Central Authority in the United Arab Emirates.

"At this stage, the extradition proceedings are still ongoing in the UAE, and therefore sub judice. The Department of Justice is engaging with the authorities in the UAE on an ongoing basis."

READ | Gupta extradition: SA has formally applied to UAE govt, Lamola and Batohi confirm

In his follow-up question, Nqola asked whether there was sufficient capacity to ensure that the process was concluded.

Lamola answered in the affirmative. He said this was also the case with the extradition of the self-proclaimed prophet, Shepherd Bushiri, from Malawi, which was "proceeding very well".

EFF MP Florence Tito asked whether Lamola could confirm that the Gupta brothers were arrested and that they were still in detention. She also asked why the extradition process was taking so long.

Lamola said they had received a note verbale, to confirm that the Guptas were "in their cells".

Lamola said the brothers had applied for bail, which was denied, and he also confirmed that they had been arrested in the UAE.

He said the extradition wasn't taking long, it was still within the prescribed times.

"We do believe that the ongoing engagements will allow us to find a solution," he said.

ACDP MP Steve Swart said the matter was clearly in the Dubai court's hands, and it could be subject to appeals, so it could take months or years before they were brought to South Africa.

Lamola said Swart was correct; it could be a "protracted legal process".

"It is the nature of extradition processes."

However, Lamola said he had confidence in the process.

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