There is no word yet from Interpol with regards to fugitive from justice Ajay Gupta who is wanted by the authorities, but has reportedly skipped the country.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said red-flagging Gupta at ports of entry would have been the urgent and first part of operational matters once he was declared a fugitive earlier this month .
Authorities are fast-tracking their investigations into state capture and the business community is offering a whopping R1.4 million in rewards for anyone who comes forward with information about the whereabouts of Gupta and President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane.
CEO of Sygnia Group Magda Wierzycka is offering R900 000 of her own money and a R500 000 reward has been offered by NGO Forensics for Justice.
Mulaudzi would not comment on arrest warrants being issued for Duduzane and Atul Gupta, but said names would be made public once investigations were completed.
More information would be released next week, he said.
As Ajay Gupta is a fugitive, red-flagging him would have been instituted as soon as possible, said Mulaudzi.
“I am quite sure it has been done already. We can’t give out more information, but of course that has been done.”
The search for Gupta was ongoing, he added. “We are using all resources at our disposal. We have stakeholders that are assisting us as well. Most of the information will be shared sometime next week.
But what is critical for now is that we just need to be given some space to do our work. “We know there is a lot of anxiety and expectations from the public.
We are doing our best. Once we get to the stage where we effect arrests you will be informed and you will get the names of those involved.” The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it was working closely with the Hawks.
“Our collaboration is superb. That is why you see there is movement,” NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said.
“The national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) established a team of special prosecutors to give the necessary guidance to the Hawks in terms of state capture. We are working closely.”
The Institute for Security Studies’ Garth Newham said he imagined the Hawks would have urgently contacted Interpol about the Guptas.
“Most countries are members of Interpol and they would apprehend them and extradite them back to South Africa. The Hawks would not necessarily make the announcement themselves, but typically, as soon as they realise they are out of the country they would do that quite quickly,” Newham said.
If the Guptas decide to stay in one country it would be more difficult to arrest them, he added.
“But if they know what country they are in and we have some sort of cooperation agreement, they could request that country makes the arrest and then extradites them. It leaves options open to them, but it depends where they are.”
Newham said it was “interesting that the law did not take its course sooner”.
“In the past, if there were people who were politically sensitive or politically protected, the NPA and the Hawks would often go out of their way to avoid prosecution.
“One of the options they had was rather than proceeding with just the criminal cases, use an inquest to avoid this. “It is so critically important that President Cyril Ramaphosa starts appointing a new NDPP and they start fixing institutions,” he added.
“There are people in the NPA and the Hawks who were appointed by Zuma and they need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency because they have not shown their willingness to act in terms of the law.
“They have severely weakened those institutions. We need to start seeing big moves in cleaning out the criminal justice system across the board.”
Lender moves to repossess Gupta jet
The Guptas reportedly face an urgent court interdict to hand over their luxury private jet, ZS-OAK.
- Sunday World reported that the family are allegedly on the run to evade repossession of the jet and have removed the tracking device from the aircraft.
- The High Court in Johnnesburg will hear the urgent application next month regarding their refusal to hand over the aircraft.
- This follows their failure to service a quarterly rental on their $41 million loan from state-owned entity, Export Development Canada, owned by the Canadian government.
- The publication reported the NPA and the SA Civil Aviation Authority have been listed as interested parties in the matter as fifth and sixth respondents.