UAE signs extradition to allow South Africa to get Guptas

The Gupta brothers are the most recent additions to the 1 300-page United States blacklist. (Muntu Vilakazi/City Press/Gallo)
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The extradition agreements between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and South Africa will assist the local authorities in ensuring the Guptas are brought to book for their alleged hand in state capture.

A statement issued on Wednesday by the UAE’s ambassador to South Africa, Mahash Alhameli, said the agreements were key in promoting judicial and legal cooperation with South Africa.

The Agreements on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates were signed in 2018. They were subsequently ratified by both countries, with the UAE doing so on 11 April this year.

“These agreements have been and remain key to the UAE in promoting judicial and legal cooperation with South Africa and strengthening bilateral relations between law enforcement institutions and partners on both sides,” Alhameli said.

The extradition agreement, he said, was aimed at preventing crime on the basis of mutual respect for the sovereignty of both countries, strengthening cooperation in combating serious crimes, including organised crime, and ensuring that criminals were not denied justice.

“The agreement was based on the desire of both countries to mutually agree on principles to strengthen their extradition status in accordance with their respective constitutional principles, taking human rights into account.”

The National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) announced, last week, that it applied to the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) to assist with the execution of arrest warrants for two Gupta brothers and their wives.

It was also seeking the arrest of other suspects outside the country involved in the feasibility study of the Estina dairy farm, in the Free State, where millions of rands were diverted from the farm project to the Gupta’s and their associates.

The Guptas and their family are believed to have fled to UAE in early 2018 as criminal investigations for alleged corruption was accelerated. It is believed they are currently in Dubai, in self-exile.