Fugitive Atul Gupta walks into SA consulate... and out

25 February 2018 - 00:01 By THANDUXOLO JIKA and QAANITAH HUNTER

While agencies in the security cluster bickered over the arrest of the Guptas, family strategist Atul Gupta - who scored R10-million from a R220-million farming project - calmly walked in and out of the South African embassy in Dubai.
This happened in the week that Hawks acting head Yolisa Matakata and her team were tripping over themselves trying to explain how the Gupta brothers and Duduzane Zuma had slipped through their fingers even though the crime-fighting unit claimed it was ready to effect arrests last year.
Sources say Atul - who is directly implicated in criminality by the Asset Forfeiture Unit in its application to freeze his accounts - went into the South African consulate-general in Bank Street, Dubai, on Monday and Tuesday to certify documents to support his court application to get the NPA's preservation order against him set aside.
Consulate officials could not act against Atul as the Department of International Relations and Co-operation had not received requests for assistance from South African law enforcement agencies.A spat between the Hawks and the NPA has surfaced over the handling of state capture cases. Prosecutors appointed to deal with a state capture task team have complained the Hawks are bungling the cases.
"From all the accused, Atul got money directly from Estina [the dairy farm project]," an NPA source said. "Why was he not arrested first?" Court papers filed by the AFU detail how Atul received R10-million illegally.
The NPA insists that Atul has a case to answer, but Hawks investigators believe they were not ready to pursue him. They have opened two Estina cases, with more arrests expected later.
A Hawks official accused the NPA of "getting too excited", insisting the Hawks should be left to conduct their own investigation.
NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said there were many state capture investigations being conducted. "You don't extradite for purposes of investigations but you extradite to prosecute. If we extradite on one case, then we will be limited to Estina in terms of the international law rule," he said.
Meanwhile, the Hawks have been mum about their investigation and an arrest warrant for Atul. Matakata told journalists this week that investigations were continuing in two phases.

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