NPA appeals to UN anti-corruption treaty, in attempt to extradite Guptas

The Guptas told the Zondo commission in an affidavit they were not willing to return to South Africa to face the Hawks or the NPA because they were 'recklessly incompetent' and a 'national embarrassment'.

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola has said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) plans to appeal to the UAE as signatories of the UN’s convention against corruption, as a last resort to get them to extradite the Guptas to South Africa.

Back in 2018, the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture was told in an affidavit submitted to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that Ajay and Rajesh Gupta were not willing to return to South Africa to face the Hawks or the NPA because they were “recklessly incompetent” and a “national embarrassment”.

Lamola was speaking to SAfm’s Aldrin Sampear, and added that the NPA had exhausted all avenues and met with resistance from an uncooperative UAE. Its last hope therefore was the UN.

“The NPA which is the central authority has requested certain information from the UAE authorities and they have responded but the NPA was not satisfied with the information we received from the UAE. Further requests have been made to say this information is not enough, it’s not what they are looking for,” Lamola said.

“We have not really received very good cooperation in this regard. So the NPA is exploring other means through the UN convention against corruption.”

“It is clear the UAE is not willing to cooperate with the process,” said Lamola.

He said even through diplomatic processes the UAE kept finding reasons to make excuses.

South Africa does not have an extradition agreement with the UAE. However, the two countries are signatories to the UN convention against corruption.

ALSO READ: Guptas won’t return to SA to face ‘recklessly incompetent’ Hawks

He said there was hope the appeal to the UAE UN convention’s would help the NPA secure a successful extradition because the UAE is also a signatory to the convention.

“It’s a process where all state parties which are signatories to the UN conventions are obliged to cooperate and if it’s an extradition request, to also comply. The UAE is a signatory to that convention,” Lamola said.

He added more information would be made available by the prosecuting authority when it is ready.

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