Two of the Gupta brothers have been arrested in Dubai for allegedly being the architects of so-called state capture in South Africa.
The arrests came following an investigation into significant state-sector corruption during former President Jacob Zuma’s tenure came to a close.
The justice ministry of South Africa “confirms that it 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,” the ministry said.
Interpol issued a red warning in July of last year, prompting their arrests over a year later. Red notices are a global alert that allows police enforcement to apprehend someone wanted for prosecution or serving a prison sentence, and hold them in custody until extradition. The Guptas were wanted in connection with a 25 million rand contract given to Nulane Investment, a Gupta-linked company, to conduct an agricultural feasibility study at that time.
The Guptas arrived in South Africa in 1993 with the intention of establishing a vast commercial empire in mining, information technology, and media. They were granted South African citizenship but fled immediately after the judicial commission probing corruption was established in 2018.
Chief Justice Raymond Zondo wrote a report outlining how the brothers became entangled with the highest levels of government and the ruling African National Congress after four years of inquiry (ANC).
The Zuma led government was marred by scandals and cast a pall over his presidency. He is accused of allowing businesses close to him, including brothers Atul, Ajay, and Rajesh Gupta, to influence policies and steal state resources.
Investigators found procurement contracts at the owners of all rail, ports, and pipelines amounted to “planned offences of racketeering activity perpetrated by a racketeering enterprise” related to the Guptas, according to a series of investigations released this year. Zuma “would do everything the Guptas wanted him to do for them,” the investigators found.
If there is one positive thing we can take from the Gupta brothers’ arrest, it is that South Africa is making progress in holding those accountable who have damaged and robbed the country in the past