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Explainer: If Ajay Gupta flees to Dubai – UN convention can bring him back to SA

19 February 2018 - 12:50 By Ernest Mabuza
Ajay and Atul Gupta. File photo.
Ajay and Atul Gupta. File photo.

South Africa does not have an extradition agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE)‚ where Ajay Gupta‚ a fugitive from justice‚ might be.

But this would not stop the South African authorities from requesting the UAE hand Gupta over to face the music in South Africa.

Gupta is wanted for his role in the Estina dairy farm scandal and a warrant of arrest has been issued.

Police minister Fikile Mbalula said on Sunday that Ajay's lawyers had initially offered to cooperate with the Hawks and hand him over‚ but since then played “cat and mouse”. The Hawks are still hunting for him‚ and have sought assistance from authorities abroad.

South Africa has an extradition treaty in place with India‚ where the Guptas are originally from.

There were reports that Ajay Gupta left for Dubai on February 6.

The United Arab Emirates have ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption of 2003. South Africa ratified this convention in November 2004.

The convention contains a comprehensive set of standards‚ measures and rules that all countries can apply in order to strengthen their legal and regulatory regimes to fight corruption.

The convention states that if a state that makes extradition conditional on the existence of a treaty receives a request for extradition from another state with which it has no extradition treaty‚ it may consider this convention the legal basis for extradition.

Article 46 of the convention states that states shall afford one another the widest measure of mutual legal assistance in investigations‚ prosecutions and judicial proceedings in relation to the offences covered under the convention.

The United Arab Emirates‚ in ratifying the treaty in 2006‚ said the key agency for receiving requests for mutual legal assistance is the department of International Cooperation of the UAE Ministry of Justice and the accepted language of assistance is Arabic.