The Justice Department says it will immediately start with the extradition application for the two Gupta brothers — Atul and Rajesh — who were arrested in the UAE.
Department spokesperson Chrispin Phiri says that cooperation between the two countries will now continue.
“Through the law enforcement agencies of the Emirati government, we have been informed that they have been captured and they are in custody and so then from here what follows is more cooperation and then we would now start to begin the extradition process.
“As you would know, an Interpol notice generally is put out widely to sort of find where fugitives of justice are and it seems that that process has now reached its end,” he said.
“Therein afterwards then kicks in the extradition process which would require us to then file extradition with the Emirati government and they would be ordinarily brought before a court of law where that extradition process then begins.”
South Africa’s extradition agreement with the United Arab Emirates was only ratified two years ago and it will now be put to the test.
But Phiri says that there are other mechanisms in place that could also be used.
“We initiated the extradition agreement with the Emirati government sometime in 2010 I believe, or even a bit forward than that. It was only ratified by the Emirati government as recently as 2020 I think, I believe in July, and that was the mechanism through which we at least could rely on at a bilateral level.
“But there also are what we call multi-lateral institutions like the United Nations Convention against corruption which the United Arab Emirates are a party to and so is South Africa and a number of countries in the world that are parties too,” Phiri said.
“And that too is a mechanism that we could always rely on and in fact in some instances is the starting point that we should be able to rely on when we would want to extradite individuals from other jurisdictions on acts of corruption in particular.”