The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has dismissed allegations that it is handling the process of the Gupta brothers’ extradition poorly.
Atul and Rajesh Gupta were arrested earlier this month by the Dubai police in connection with money laundering and other criminal charges in South Africa.
In a statement, the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services also confirmed the arrest, adding that discussions between various law enforcement agencies in the UAE and South Africa on the way forward were ongoing.
Attempts to undermine NPA
Though the NPA has not said much about the extradition process since the Gupta brothers’ arrest, it dismissed allegations that the silence was due to the mishandling of the matter or failing to respond to UAE requests.
“The reports are not accurate and should be dismissed as dangerous speculation, or politically and personally motivated attacks to undermine the NPA and its leadership during this process,” said the NPA on Wednesday.
“We have previously explained why we will not be commenting on the legal dimensions of the case at this early stage, and this remains our position for important legal and case-specific reasons. However, we note with concern the widespread misinformation and speculation about how the NPA and its leadership is handling this complex legal process. While we recognise the public interest in this matter, we must focus on delivering on our constitutional mandate and responsibilities without distraction, and without fear or favour.”
The NPA said it has full confidence in its team of expert prosecutors, who have been dealing with extradition cases for many years.
“This core team of prosecutors is leading the process, with the support of several private counsel, as necessary, to assist with the finalisation of the formal extradition request. The NPA has already submitted the requests for provisional arrest warrants through the appropriate channels, which was a formality that needed to be complied with,” said the NPA.
In terms of the extradition treaty between South Africa and United Arab Emirates (UAE), South Africa has 60 days from the date of arrest to submit the formal extradition application and the NPA was on track to finalise the process, it said.
“The diplomatic and political aspects are being dealt with in parallel by our colleagues in the Ministry, Department of Justice and Department of International Relations and Co-operations.”
‘It could take a year, two years or four years or maybe never’
Commenting on the arrest of the Gupta brothers, immigration lawyer Gary Eisenberg told 702 earlier this month that South Africa can only hope the wheel of justice continues to turn quickly, as the process could take years.
“When the Guptas’ legal team gets involved, this whole animal transforms into something you never imagined. This transformative process takes place over time in different courts,” Eisenberg told the radio station.
How busy the courts and judges are should also be taken into consideration.
“It could take a year, two years or four years or maybe never. Whatever is happening now belongs to a confluence of factors including good fortune for the South African government, and we hope those wheels continue to turn quickly.”
Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde