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Parties Hail Arrest Of Fugitive Gupta Brothers

Parties Hail Arrest Of Fugitive Gupta Brothers…  The arrest of two fugitive Gupta brothers Atul and Rajesh in the United Arab Emirates has been described as a breakthrough in the aftermath of state capture.
Parties Hail Arrest Of Fugitive Gupta Brothers

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Last night justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola confirmed the arrest of the Gupta brothers who had been fugitives in UAE’s city of Dubai after they fled SA.

“The ministry of justice and correctional services confirms that it has received information from law enforcement authorities in the United Arab Emirates that fugitives of justice, namely, Rajesh and Atul Gupta, have been arrested,” said ministry’s spokesperson Chrispin Phiri.

“Discussions between various law enforcement agencies in the UAE and SA on the way forward are ongoing. The SA government will continue to co-operate with the UAE,” he said.

UDM leader and MP Bantu Holomisa welcomed the arrests, describing them as a breakthrough.

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“How I wish the arrests could have happened earlier so that they could have been given a chance to answer for themselves [at the Zondo commission of inquiry]. The arrests are going to make things easier for National Prosecuting Authority to move with speed to those suspected of stealing money [with the Guptas].”

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Holomisa said there were many people in government who worked with the Guptas and they should also face arrest.

“There are many in government and state owned enterprises who enabled the Guptas; they were a cartel. They were taking money from SOEs like Eskom, SABC and Transnet. It can’t be the Guptas only who must account for that.”

DA MP and spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube also hailed the arrests: “We hope that this is indeed the beginning of arrests and prosecution of those who have – locally and abroad – looted our country for years and are directly responsible for the hardships that millions of South Africans face today.”

In February Interpol issued red notices for Atul and Rajesh Gupta in relation to R24m Nulane Investment fraud and money laundering case.

The National Prosecuting Authority has alleged that the Free State department of agriculture paid the money to the company owned by former Transnet board member and Gupta ally Iqbal Sharma for a fraudulent feasibility study for a project named Mohoma Mobung.

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The Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action. The South African government had applied for against the Guptas in 2021. At the time Lamola described the move as a positive development which he hoped would allow justice to take its course.

The Gupta are also at the centre of allegations of state capture which saw billions of rand siphoned off state owned companies to benefit their businesses.

In the Part IV of state capture report Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said the NPA must consider instituting criminal charges against Rajesh Gupta for offering a bribe to former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas. Jonas told the commission that he was offered R600m bribe which he rejected.

Zondo said Gupta must be charged for bribery or corruption emanating from his conduct in offering former deputy  Jonas R600m in exchange for agreeing to be finance minister and working with the family as its inside man. This after Jonas in August 2018 testified at the commission, detailing threats, bribes and corruption he had encountered during a meeting at the Gupta residence in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

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The Gutpa family has over the years been accused of misusing their proximity to former President Jacob Zuma to loot from parastatal, including the now severely cash-strapped Eskom.

Labour federation Cosatu’s Matthew Parks  said he hoped the NPA won’t bungle the case should the Guptas be extradited to SA.

“We were disappointed years ago when the Guptas were allowed to flee the country without their arrests being executed and some of their assets being seized,” said Parks.

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