Calls for an extradition treaty between SA, UAE

Ajay Gupta believes the idea of state capture is an imaginary concept created by the media.
Ajay Gupta believes the idea of state capture is an imaginary concept created by the media.

Johannesburg - An "Ideas for action" document, compiled by British peer Lord Peter Hain and other anti-corruption activists, calls for an extradition treaty between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. 

South African-born Hain said the UAE city of Dubai, which is also an emirate in the UAE, is the “main centre for collecting cash to make cash payments to bypass anti-money laundering laws".

OR Tambo International Airport said on Friday morning that they have video footage of fugitive Ajay Gupta leaving the country for Dubai on February 6. 

The Hawks have labelled Ajay - one of the three controversial Gupta brothers - a fugitive after he failed to report to law enforcement authorities despite promising to turn himself in. It’s still unclear what charges he faces and it appears to be a separate case to the 8 Gupta associates arrested in the Estina Dairy Farm case.

But if Ajay is still in Dubai, South African authorities currently have no jurisdiction to ensure he’s brought home to face legal action.

“At the moment, we don’t have any [extradition] agreement with the UAE, but we are in the process of doing this, [we] just need Cabinet’s approval,” spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development Stephans Mahlangu told Fin24 by phone.

Mahlangu said it’s uncertain when Cabinet will approve the treaty. 

At a meeting this week, Lord Hain - a vocal critic of international companies linked to state capture allegations - and others worked towards a plan to tackle state capture. The group includes forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan, executive director of Corruption Watch, David Lewis, and amaBunghane investigative journalist Susan Comrie.

They plan to broaden the discussion to other sectors of civil society and come up with a comprehensive plan to tackle corruption. 

Duduzane Zuma

Several media houses reported this week that ex-president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane was also being sought by the Hawks, as a shareholder in the Guptas' Oakbay company.

A series of leaked emails shows that Duduzane purchased an apartment worth nearly R18m in the glitzy Dubai Burj Khalifa building with the assistance of the Guptas.

Short window for Ramaphosa to act

The "Ideas for action" document emphasises that there’s a “very short window” for the government to act against graft, before public confidence will once again be eroded.

They also state that it should be a number one priority to have all the monies lost in wrongdoing returned. Companies involved should own up and pay reparations.

The civil society groups involved ask whether there should be Nuremberg style courts - specialised commercial crimes courts to prosecute those involved in state capture, or whether there should be a corruption “truth and reconciliation commission” to expose the extent of the rot.

The document further suggests that all private jets entering or exiting South Africa need to be subjected to full and thorough inspections as they have been used to carry large amounts of cash in the past.

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