NEWS
18/05/2018 07:20 SAST | Updated 18/05/2018 07:20 SAST

South Africa and UAE In Talks Over 'Legal Agreement' To Bring Guptas Back

Justice Minister Michael Masutha said the agreement is not a broader extradition treaty, but is limited to the Gupta case.

Indian businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta, and Sahara director, Duduzane Zuma speak to the City Press from the New Age Newspaper's offices in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa on 4 March 2011.
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Indian businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta, and Sahara director, Duduzane Zuma speak to the City Press from the New Age Newspaper's offices in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa on 4 March 2011.

The justice ministry is in talks with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to bring the Guptas back to South Africa, Business Day reported. Justice minister Michael Masutha reportedly said the two countries were in talks over a "mutual legal agreement", but that this was limited to the Gupta case, and was not about a broader extradition treaty between the two countries.

Justice ministry spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga reportedly said: "The minister is not negotiating an extradition treaty. He is negotiating the cooperation of the UAE with respect to making the Guptas available to the law enforcement agencies here [in SA]."

The Guptas left the country shortly before a raid on all their businesses and properties in February. Ajay Gupta, a wanted fugitive, was spotted in Dubai in April.

According to News24, Masutha told the media, ahead of the budget vote on the Office of the Chief Justice, that there was a willingness from the UAE to cooperate.

"On the matter relating to the Gupta question, a few weeks ago I met with the ambassador of the UAE to discuss... the speeding up of the finalisation of a mutual legal assistance and extradition bilateral agreement between our two countries.

"He expressed a strong desire on the part of his government of ensuring we put in place all the necessary systems to facilitate this type of cooperation between our two countries," Masutha reportedly said.

In a video interview with eNCA this week, Ajay Gupta reportedly denies the charges against him, and said these have also not been properly explained to him. He said the media needs to explain to him what he is charged with, and denied that the Indian government is investigating his family.

"In my opinion, there is no allegation (sic) in any part of the world," he said.

eNCA reported that Ajay is currently in India.