SA awaits update on Gupta brother's extradition application

Thursday, March 30, 2023

An urgent meeting has been requested between the South African and United Arab Emirates’ central authorities as well as the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola and his counterpart in the UAE - to get an update on the status of an extradition application pertaining to Atul Gupta and Rajesh Gupta.

The brothers were arrested in the UAE last year. They are wanted by the South African authorities to answer to charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering.

In a statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services said it is waiting for an update on the status of its extradition application pertaining to Atul and Rajesh Gupta from the UAE.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Lamola expressed concern that following a visit by the Central Authority to the United Arab Emirates to ensure that the application meets the requirements of the UAE authorities, there has not been an update on the first court appearance of the fugitives to determine whether there will be a hearing on the application for extradition.

“To date, the Central Authority has made various enquiries, the latest request is an urgent meeting between the two central authorities and the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates,” said the Ministry.

The Ministry is pursuing this matter via the diplomatic channels pursuant to the extradition treaty between the two countries.

The brothers are wanted in South Africa in relation to the R25 million Nulane Investment fraud and money laundering case.

The case relates to a procurement fraud involving R24.9 million, paid between November 2011 and April 2012 by the Free State Department of Agriculture (FSDoA) to Nulane Investment 204 (PTY) LTD, a company owned and controlled by Iqbal Sharma.

From there, the funds were diverted to Islandsite Investments 180 (Pty) Ltd (Islandsite), a company owned and controlled by the Gupta family.

The R24.9 million was purportedly paid to Nulane to conduct a feasibility study for the Free State Province’s flagship Mohoma Mobung project, on the basis that Nulane had unique skills to perform the work.

The group is charged together with three companies, Nulane Investment 204 (Pty) Ltd, Wone Management (PTY) LTD, Pragat Investment (Pty) LTD, Islandsite Investments Pty Ltd, the National Prosecuting Authority said at the time.

The other accused in the case are former government and state entity officials, former Transnet board member Iqbal Sharma, former Free State head of Department for Rural Development Peter Thabethe, former head of FSDoA Limakatso Moorosi, former FSDoA Chief Financial Officer, Seipati Dhlamini and Nulane Investment employee Dinesh Patel. –