WATCH: Justice Minister explains next step in Gupta extradition process

Published Jul 19, 2022


Durban: The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) has stepped in to assist local authorities track down the Gupta family, says Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola.

He was responding to a Parliamentary question by advocate Glynnis Breytenbach on the progress of the extradition process.

Lamola said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had prepared and was ready to submit the extradition request to the director-general of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in his capacity as the central authority.

"This will be transmitted to the country or countries where the implicated members of the Gupta family are ultimately located. In order for the NPA to finalise and submit the requests to the Central Authority, the exact whereabouts of these implicated members have to be established first. Interpol's National Central Bureau in Pretoria is engaging with their counterparts in foreign countries to obtain the whereabouts of the implicated members of the Gupta family," he said.

The minister said the Red Notices were issued on July 5, 2022, and had been circulated via the Interpol system.

"This is to ensure that should any of the implicated members of the Gupta family be found within the jurisdiction of an Interpol member state, they can be arrested provisionally, to allow for the extradition request to be transmitted urgently to that particular country," Lamola said.

A Red Notice is published by Interpol, at the request of a member country, to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person, pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action.

Lamola said it was circulated by Interpol which was the largest police organisation in the world, consisting of 195 member countries.

The countries worked together to share data related to police investigations. The issuing of a Red Notice assisted the requesting country to cast the net wider in the search for the implicated person or persons, by having the 194 members of Interpol assist in searching and locating the wanted individual or individuals.

Lamola said it also flagged the wanted individuals, and should they attempt to cross an international border, their location would be known to law enforcement agencies. Therefore, a Red Notice was of great importance and assistance in the extradition process.

Late last month, the NPA's Mthunzi Mhaga said they had full confidence in the team working on the Gupta extradition process.

"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. In terms of the extradition treaty between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, South Africa has 60 days from the date of arrest to submit the formal extradition application," he said.

Atul and Ajay Gupta were arrested in connection with the charges related to procurement fraud involving R24.9 million the Free State Department of Agriculture paid to a company, Nulane Investments 204, between November 2011 and April 2012.