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2023-01-23 at 16:57 #390406Nat QuinnKeymaster
High-profile fugitive Atul Gupta attempts to get a new South African passport has been denied.
THE COURT CONFIRMED THAT ATUL GUPTA IS A FUGITIVE
Siya Qoza, the spokesperson for the minister of home affairs, said the High Court Gauteng North judgment delivered on Friday, 20 January 2023, confirmed that Atul Gupta is a fugitive from justice and therefore does not qualify for a South African passport.
“Home Affairs Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi welcomes the High Court Gauteng North judgment delivered on Friday, 20 January 2023, which confirmed that Atul Gupta is a fugitive from justice and therefore does not qualify for a South African passport, as the department had contended.”
On 25 September 2018, having fled South Africa during the advent of the Gupta Leaks, Atul Gupta approached the consul-general of South Africa in Dubai to apply for a passport.
HE CLAIMED HE HAD A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO A PASSPORT
Qoza said the department rejected this application after receiving confirmation from the National Prosecuting Authority that a warrant of arrest was issued against him in connection with criminal offences of fraud and money laundering related to the Vrede Dairy Project.
“In February 2021, Gupta approached the court, seeking to force the department to issue him with a new South African passport. He claimed he had a constitutional right to a passport as a citizen of South Africa.”
On Friday, Judge Kumalo found that “if he (Gupta) indeed is not a fugitive from justice, why would he need legal advice whether he ought to come to this country for whatever reason? This is more telling for a person who owns the property and has owned businesses in this country”.
Judge Kumalo also noted that Gupta did not give a particular address in Dubai.
THE COURT NOTED GUPTA DID NOT GIVE A PARTICULAR ADDRESS IN DUBAI
“All that he seems prepared to state is that he is a South African citizen resident in Dubai. Nothing further is disclosed. I am of the view that this was not an oversight on the Applicant’s side but was deliberate,”
reads part of the judgment.
Judge Kumalo made an order as follows:
The Applicant is a fugitive from justice;
The Applicant has no locus standi to approach this court for relief in the circumstances;
Applicant (Gupta) is to pay the cost of this application.
In welcoming the judgment, Minister Motsoaledi said the court had delivered an important confirmation that the country’s laws must be respected and apply to all.
‘JUDGEMENT SHOWS THAT YOU CANNOT WANT TO ESCAPE ACCOUNTABILITY IN A COUNTY’
“Friday’s judgment shows that you cannot want to escape accountability in a country and seek to enjoy the use of documents that are exclusively reserved for law-abiding citizens of that country.”
Minister Motsoaledi further welcomes the cost order against Gupta in favour of the Department because it ensures that public funds are kept for service delivery. Minister Motsoaledi instructed the Department to immediately start the process to recover the costs.
Fugitive Atul Gupta loses court bid to get new South African passport (thesouthafrican.com)
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