Two brothers accused of corruption arrested in Dubai

Two brothers accused of corruption arrested in Dubai

Two wealthy Indian-born business brothers who were accused of being at the centre of a massive web of state corruption in South Africa have been arrested in Dubai, Pretoria announced on Monday.

The arrests came after an investigation was completed into the massive plundering of state institutions during the era of President Jacob Zuma.

South Africa's justice ministry has received information from law enforcement authorities in the United Arab Emirates UAE that fugitives of justice, namely Rajesh and Atul Gupta have been arrested, it said.

The brothers are alleged to have been at the centre of a corruption scandal that has sparked the resignation of Zuma's nine-year administration until 2018. They were accused of paying bribes in exchange for lucrative state contracts and influence over ministerial appointments.

Their arrests came almost a year after Interpol issued a red notice last July. Red notices allow law enforcement to arrest a person sought for prosecution or to serve a custodial sentence and detain them pending extradition.

There are discussions between various law enforcement agencies in the UAE and South Africa on the way forward, according to the ministry.

In 1993 the Guptas came to South Africa to build a vast business empire in mining, computer technology and media. They were granted South African citizenship but fled shortly after a judicial commission investigating corruption started in 2018.

After four years of investigations, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo compiled a report revealing how the brothers became involved with the highest levels of government and the ruling African National Congress ANC In a series of reports this year, the investigators said that procurement contracts at the owners of all rail, ports and pipelines amounted to planned offences of racketeering activity conducted by a racketeering enterprise linked to the Guptas.

The investigators concluded that Zuma would do anything that the Guptas wanted him to do for them. The corruption scandals that engulfed Zuma led to his downfall. He was forced to resign in 2018.

Zuma was jailed last year for 15 months for refusing to testify before the investigators. He was released on parole after serving just two months of the term.

In July last year Interpol said the Gupta brothers were being sought for fraud and money laundering in connection with a 25 m rand 1.3 m contract paid to a Gupta-linked company, Nulane Investment, to conduct an agricultural feasibility study.