Gupta plane grounded in South Africa after request from Canada

A private jet used by a business family at the heart of corruption allegations against the former South African president Jacob Zuma has been grounded by a court order, according to legal documents.

The whereabouts of the Bombardier Global 6000 jet are unknown, but on Monday the high court in Johannesburg ordered that it must be landed and kept at Lanseria airport outside the city.

The court gave the Guptas 15 days to hand over the jet.

“Within 15 calendar days of the date of this order, the [Gupta company] shall deliver the Bombardier” into the custody of Export Development Canada (EDC) at Lanseria international airport, ruled the high court judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane.

She also “interdicted and restrained” the Gupta family from possessing or using the aircraft. They had been leasing the plane from the insurance software company StoneRiver, which had bought it with funding from EDC.

EDC, Canada’s state-run trade credit agency, had, together with Stoneriver, petitioned the court after the family’s businesses defaulted on paying lease fees for the $41m (£33m) plane.

The court ordered that the South African aviation authorities should cancel the plane’s registration certificate if the family fails to comply with the order to return the aircraft.

EDC had feared that the plane could be used to commit criminal offences because its public tracking device had been switched off.

The judge said the fact that the Guptas did not want the whereabouts of the plane to be known “makes for the pungent possibility that this was done so that the aircraft can be used for unlawful purposes”.

The Indian-born Gupta family has been accused of corrupt dealings with Zuma, allegedly benefiting from favourable government contracts and mining deals.

Zuma resigned as president last month under pressure from his African National Congress party after a nine-year reign tainted by fraud scandals.

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