Controversial businessman Billy Rautenbach has been arrested in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and subsequently deported to Zimbabwe, where he holds citizenship.
Rautenbach, who faces charges of fraud, corruption and other crimes in South Africa, was declared a persona non grata in the DRC earlier this week after a request for assistance from South Africa.
An emailed statement distributed by London-based public relations company, Bell Pottinger, on behalf of the Katanga government, said that Rautenbach was informed that he had been barred from the country by the Interior Ministry in Kinshasa on July 17.
“The government of the DRC is making strenuous efforts to clean up the mining sector in the country, and has taken seriously South African charges of fraud, corruption and other crimes against Rautenbach,” the statement said.
Rautenbach, who is a major shareholder in Aim-listed Central African Mining and Exploration (Camec), which owns copper mining properties in the DRC, was apprehended after the company held a press briefing contesting the validity of the persona non grata order and claiming that he had entered the DRC despite it.
After authorities discovered that Rautenbach had entered the country, he was detained by the Katanga provincial authorities on Wednesday and deported on Thursday.
“We need to make it clear to the world that, even if we have as yet no extradition facilities in place, we will not continue to allow such people to operate in the DRC with impunity,” said Katanga governor Moise Katumbi.
"Mr Rautenbach had amassed a large number of mineral and other assets in the DRC during the civil war and subsequently," the statement said.
Camec, which is chared by former England cricket player Philippe Edmonds, is also currently engaged in a hostile bid for fellow DRC-focused copper firm Katanga Mining.
The company, which already owns a 22% in Katanga, is offering shareholders 17 Camex shares for every one Katanga share.