SA extradition treaty with UAE to come into effect on 10 July - Lamola

The Middle Eastern country confirmed the ratification of its extradition treaty this week after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) approached Interpol to assist in the execution of warrants of arrests for brothers Atul and Rajesh Gupta, along with their wives and and four others.

FILE: Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola addresses the media in Pretoria during a virtual Cabinet briefing on 6 August 2020. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa has started a process that will see some of the Gupta family members extradited to face criminal charges here on home soil.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) confirmed the ratification of its extradition treaty this week after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) approached Interpol to assist in the execution of warrants of arrests for brothers Atul and Rajesh Gupta, along with their wives and four others.

The UAE is a member of Interpol, which can allow for the location and arrest of wanted people facing prosecution.

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola on Friday morning confirmed that the extradition treaty would come into effect on 10 July.

"It is common cause that South Africa has persons of interest who frequent the UAE and who are believed to be in the UAE. It is worth mentioning that our request for mutual legal assistance to the UAE to date was not prohibited by the fact that there was no treaties enforced between the two states," the minister said.

The NPA wants the Gupta brothers, who fled in 2018, to be arrested and charged with fraud of R24 million related to the failed Estina dairy farm in the Free State.

Last week, Minister Lamola told Eyewitness News that authorities in the UAE appeared willing to cooperate with South Africa in its pursuit of information and other assistance regarding the Gupta family after initial hesitancy. He said that while the initial feedback from the Emirates when they made a request for mutual legal assistance was negative, there had been some progress.

Past requests for cooperation yielded no results, leading to Pretoria’s reliance on the United Nations convention against corruption to go after the family suspected of being the kingpins in the looting of state funds. It now appeared this decision in dealing with the Gupta family has nudged the UAE in the right direction.

WATCH: SA-UAE extradition treaty paves way for Guptas to face criminal charges

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