Two wealthy Indian-born business brothers allegedly at the center of a massive web of state corruption in South Africa have been arrested in Dubai, Pretoria announced on Monday.
The arrests came as an investigation into massive looting state institutions during the era of former President Jacob Zuma.
The South African Ministry of Justice “confirms that it has received information from law enforcement agencies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that fugitives from justice, namely , Rajesh and Atul Gupta have been arrested,” the statement said.
The family members are said to be at the center of a corruption scandal that dogged Zuma’s nine-year tenure through 2018.
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They have been accused of taking bribes having paid contracts and influence on ministerial appointments in exchange for a massive and lucrative state.
Their arrests come almost a year later the Interpol issued a Red Notice in July last year.
Red Notices are a global alert that allows law enforcement to arrest a criminal or serve a prison sentence and hold them pending extradition.
“Talks between different law enforcement agencies in the UAE and in South Africa on how to proceed are afoot,” the ministry said.
The Guptas came to South Africa in 1993 to build a sprawling business empire in mining, Build computer technology and media.
They had been granted South African citizenship but fled the country shortly after a 2018 judicial commission of inquiry into Korru ption.
After four years of investigations, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo compiled a report revealing how the wealthy brothers became entangled with the highest levels of government and the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
In a series of reports to be released this year, investigators said procurement contracts with the proprietor of all railroads, ports and pipelines amounted to “planned extortion operations by a blackmail company” in connection with the Guptas.
Investigators also concluded that Zuma “would do anything 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 sentenced to 15 months in prison last year for refusing to testify before investigators. He was released on parole after serving just two months of his sentence.
In July last year, Interpol said the Gupta brothers were being charged with fraud and money laundering related to a 25 million rand ($1.60 – million, €1.5 million) contract paid to a Gupta affiliate, Nulane Investment, to conduct an agricultural feasibility study.
Paul Holden , an investigator who runs an NGO alongside a former ANC MP, estimated the cost of the Guptas’ alleged illegal activities in South Africa could be as high as 50 billion rand ($3.2 billion). /p>