'It's not like we are going to Dubai with a suitcase to fetch the Guptas' – Lamola confirms UAE trip

16 December 2019 - 15:55
By Amil Umraw
Justice minister Ronald Lamola.
Image: Gallo Images/Sowetan/ Kabelo Mokoena Justice minister Ronald Lamola.

Justice minister Ronald Lamola has confirmed that a special delegation from his department and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been sent to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to argue for the finalisation of an extradition treaty for members of the Gupta family.

The Sunday Times reported that Lamola and his public service and administration counterpart Senzo Mchunu would lead the delegation in talks with the government of the UAE over the repatriation of the Guptas.

Lamola and Mchunu will be joined by the head of the NPA Shamila Batohi, the head of the NPA's investigative directorate Hermione Cronje, the head of the Special Investigating Unit Andy Mothibi, and Robert McBride in his capacity as acting head of the ethics unit in Mchunu's department.

Answering questions from the media in Pretoria on Monday, Lamola said officials were attending a UN anti-corruption conference this week.

He said that “bilateral engagements” will be held on the sidelines to expedite the signing of an extradition treaty relating to the Gupta family.

“Indeed, later this evening [Monday] we will be going to the UAE attending a UN conference on anti-corruption. It is not uncommon that when we attend these kinds of events, you will have bilateral engagements with our counterparts.

“There is already an advanced team from the department and from the NPA who are already in the UAE.

“It's not like we are going to Dubai with a suitcase to fetch the Guptas. It is done through the law. What we are going to engage with them on is the issue that there has been an extradition treaty that we have already signed, and it has not yet been ratified in the UAE,” he said.