JOHANNESBURG-- South African Justice Minister Michael Masutha says he has initiated talks with the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the two countries to enter into a mutual legal assistance and extradition agreement.

Such a treaty will enable the South African government to take steps to extradite members of the Gupta family to be extradited from the Gulf country to face charges in South Africa. The Guptas are an Indian immigrant family most of whose members have obtained South African citizenship, who are alleged to be involved in "State Capture", a term used to describe the exercise of undue influence over high-ranking officers of the State for their personal benefit.

Masutha said here Wednesday that he met the UAE Ambassador to South Africa recently to discuss the need to establish a mutual legal assistance and extradition agreement between the two countries.

Recent reports indicate that some members of the Gupta family, originally from the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, are hiding in Dubai in the UAE.

Masutha said the ambassador had expressed a desire to facilitate the speeding up of the process for the two countries to sign such an agreement, "especially because of the number of South African citizens who are in the UAE for various purposes which necessitates stronger relations to ensure legal systems work in a mutually supportive manner.


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