Saturday, May 18, 2024

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South Africa sends Paul Mashatile to intervene in Gupta extradition

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Deputy President Paul Mashatile has been tasked to convince “the rulers of United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the highest level” to support the National Prosecuting Authority’s request to extradite Atul and Rajesh Gupta.

National Director of public prosecutions Advocate Shamila Batohi said the NPA has taken steps to request political intervention from the Presidency and had briefed Mashatile on the matter ahead of his working visit to the UAE this week.

“We’ve decided, as the NPA, that we needed the president of this country to intervene with the ruler of the UAE because we realised that unless there isn’t that strong political push in the UAE, we’re going to struggle with this matter.”

“Mutual legal assistance, ultimately, it depends on political will and if the leaders in a country do not want to cooperate with you, there’s no way you can get that cooperation.

“What we hope the DP (Mashatile) will be able to do – we have briefed him fully – is really to get the commitment from the rulers of the UAE at the highest level, for them to understand the importance of these cases to South Africa and for them to get the commitment at the highest level that the UAE will support South Africa in our requests,” she said.

Batohi explained that the NPA was battling to establish the reasons why its request to the UAE was rejected a year ago.

“We have been trying very hard to find out some very basic things like what exactly [is] the problem with our extradition request. We’ve not had satisfactory responses from the UAE.”

“We’ve been trying to set up a meeting with the national director and the head of the prosecuting authority in the UAE in order for us to understand this. We’ve not been able to schedule that meeting for months,” she said.

The NPA wants the Guptas back in South Africa to face charges for fraud and money laundering related to state capture.

In September 2023, the Department of Justice and Correctional Services in a statement said it was requested to resubmit a new extradition request.

Last April the UAE rejected South Africa’s extradition request for the brothers, stating that  it “inconsistent with article 17 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, to which both nations are a signatory”.

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