The architects of state capture may be one step closer to facing accountability. The South African government has a plan to force-through the arrest of the Guptas brothers, despite them currently living in the UAE.
According to the Sunday Times, “top cabinet ministers and high-ranking law enforcement officials” are flying out to Abu Dhabi this week. They’re on a mission to persuade the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to repatriate the corruption-fuelled Guptas to South Africa, so they can be hauled across the coals for their patronage.
Guptas coming back to South Africa?
Extradition treaties had been ratified between South African and the UAE during a Second Joint Commission, which took place last year. The agreement was reached with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE, Sheihk Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The agreement, which includes a clause on mutual legal assistance, could see the infamous Gupta family extradited to South Africa to face charges relating to corruption and state capture.
UAE, other countries to help prosecute Guptas
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola explained South Africa’s position on the Guptas back in October. He has confirmed that an international collaborative effort is underway to find out if the brothers can be brought back to the shores of Mzansi to face a criminal investigation:
Two of the world’s biggest superpowers – China and the US – have already agreed to provide us with Mutual Legal Assistance to take down the Guptas. The latter ended up blacklisting the Indian billionaires from all financial activities within their country, striking one of the most devastating blows to the elusive money-men.
What could happen next?
Elsewhere, The European tax haven of Switzerland have been asked to review their business with the Gupta brothers, as have the lungs of the South Asian economy, Hong Kong. Mauritius and Canada were also tasked with backing-up these international efforts, which threaten to hit the Guptas exceptionally close to home.
Should South Africa’s delegation achieve their mission – a tall order, given the evasiveness of the brothers – then it’s likely that they would face a criminal trial (and the State Capture Inquiry) in the new year. It would herald a significant victory in the battle against corruption, and it’d prove to be a much-welcome boost for Cyril Ramaphosa – his anti-corruption message has come under fire, but this could be the coup to silence the critics.