NPA calls for strong political push on Gupta brothers’ extradition

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The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says there’s a need for a strong political push to accelerate the extradition of the Gupta brothers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Shamila Batohi, says that efforts to schedule a meeting with her counterpart in the United Arab Emirates to establish what the problem is with the extradition request haven’t yielded any positive results.

Batohi was speaking at a media roundtable in Pretoria about the institution’s priorities and strategic initiatives.

South Africa remains in limbo on the extradition of the Guptas. The NPA says UAE authorities haven’t responded to repeated requests for information needed.

The extradition request was turned down by a UAE court in February. This was after the court established that on the charge of money laundering, the crime in question was alleged to have been committed in the UAE and South Africa.

Federal laws of the UAE state that an extradition can be denied because that country has the jurisdiction to prosecute the crime. Both Atul and Rajesh Gupta are facing allegations of looting billions of rands through state capture.

“they’ve not had satisfactory responses from UAE on some basic things like what the problem is with the extradition request. saying they need the president to intervene because, without this political push, they’re going to struggle with the matter,” says Batohi.

Batohi says a decade of state capture has severely hampered the NPA’s growth trajectory. However, great strides have been made in dealing with cases of corruption amid calls for accountability.

“More than R14 billion of state capture assets have been restrained and preserved,”

The institution has dispelled reports that it’s failing to prosecute those implicated in corruption. It has also disputed giving five-star treatment to the former speaker of the National Assembly.

“NPA success cannot be calibrated through 1 or 2 setbacks, Nulane/Koko. A lot of work has been done,” Batohi adds.

Batohi claims that almost 700 government officials have been convicted for corruption in the last five years.