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Opposition parties hope extradition treaty will speed up Guptas' return to SA

In an affidavit submitted to the state capture commission of inquiry, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta say they are in the Emirates, and have no intention of ever returning to South Africa because they fear arrest.

FILE: Ajay Gupta. Picture: Screengrab/Youtube

CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties say they hope an extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) unanimously supported by the National Assembly on Thursday afternoon will pave the way for the speedy return of the Gupta brothers to South Africa to face charges of fraud and corruption.

It's believed they have chosen Dubai as their new home, after fleeing the country as the net started to close in on them.

In an affidavit submitted to the state capture commission of inquiry, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta say they are in the Emirates, and have no intention of ever returning to South Africa because they fear arrest.

The Democratic Alliance's Glynnis Breytenbach, however, warns that government can't afford to make mistakes in seeking legal assistance from other countries.

“It is quite worrying that there are reports that the UAE sent back last week South Africa’s request for mutual legal assistance because it was not drafted according to the UAE’s protocols. Such instances must be avoided in future to allow South Africa to draw full advantage from this treaty in order to bring international criminals such as the Gupta family and their associates to speedy justice.”

It's taken eight years for government to conclude the extradition and legal assistance treaties with the UAE, it’s something the African Christian Democratic Party's Steve Swart believes could have been avoided.

“And whilst it is alleged that those delays came from the UAE’s side, in our view there was no political will by the Zuma administration to sign those agreements. And this is not surprising, given the central role that President Jacob Zuma and certain Cabinet ministers played in facilitating state capture.”

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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