After several months of painstaking legal negotiations, South Africa has officially asked the United Arab Emirates to extradite brothers Rajesh and Atul Gupta, accused of corruption in a case involving former South African President Jacob Zuma.
Justice Minister Ronald Lamoa announced the extradition request at a press conference on Monday.
The two brothers, along with a third whose whereabouts are unknown, have long been wanted on numerous charges, including abuse of power, bribery and money laundering schemes worth millions.
The brothers’ close affiliation with Zuma sparked a scandal in South Africa, eventually leading to his resignation and trial on more than 700 corruption charges.
The two businessmen were arrested by Dubai police in June, four years after fleeing South Africa. The two countries only ratified an extradition treaty a year ago.
The arrest of the Gupta brothers is an important milestone for South Africa. “We will do everything we can to ensure that the prospects of successful prosecution and conviction are a reality,” tweeted South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Director Shamila Batohi.
Efforts to extradite the brothers have taken years of legal work, with South Africa and the United Arab Emirates communicating strongly on how best to handle the process.
In May, after the insistence of the South African government, Interpol issued a red notice for the two, which facilitated their arrest.
“The submission of the formal request for the arrest and extradition of the #Gupta brothers reaffirms our resolve to be advocates for the people and to seek collective justice for our country,” the NPA said. tweeted.