Justice minister Ronald Lamola has told parliament that the United Arab Emirates was not co-operating regarding the extradition of the Gupta brothers to SA.
Lamola was giving a political overview of his departments’ annual reports to the parliamentary portfolio committee on justice and correctional services on Friday afternoon.
MPs raised their concerns about high profile people who escape the country when they have to face the justice system. Only last week, Shepherd Bushiri, founder and leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering, skipped bail with his wife Mary and fled to their home country Malawi.
“Ultimately, minister, this is an issue that erodes public confidence in the justice system as a whole and you are one of the primary custodians of our justice system,” said DA MP Werner Horn, citing the Guptas, former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir and Bushiri.
Lamola said there was initially collaboration with the UAE and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) received information from them which it did not have or have access to.
The information, however, turned out not to be helpful, added Lamola.
“As we speak now, we can say that what has been provided to us is not really helpful in particular with regards with the UAE.
“We continue to engage with them but it is becoming apparent to us that they are not really co-operating with the request that we have sent of mutual legal assistance,” said Lamola.
Hermione Cronje, head of the Investigating Directorate in the NPA, told the same committee last month that there were a number of tricks which the prosecuting authority had up its sleeve. The US had jurisdiction over all transactions conducted in dollars and that was an avenue to consider.
Meanwhile, Lamola also revealed to MPs that he had been informed that the attorney-general of Malawi was planning to appeal against the decision by a Malawi court to free the Bushiris, who face money laundering, theft and fraud charges in SA.