SA critiques UAE for lack of cooperation in fight against corruption

By S’thembile Cele

(Bloomberg) – South Africa’s government criticised the United Arab Emirates for failing to cooperate with its requests for assistance in bringing to justice people suspected of being involved in corruption.

The two nations have finalised and ratified extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties that may signal a change of course by the UAE authorities, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said Friday in an online briefing.

“We have to date not experienced the level of appreciation and cooperation” from the UAE, Lamola said in a statement. “We will continue to pursue our counterparts through diplomatic channels, in order to reach the desired levels of cooperation to enable our law enforcement agencies to bring to justice persons of interest on any investigation they are pursuing.”

South Africa asked the UAE three years ago for assistance in gathering financial evidence related to the Gupta family, who’ve been accused by the authorities of using their links with former President Jacob Zuma to secure deals to loot state-owned companies. President Cyril Ramaphosa has estimated that more than R500bn ($37bn) was stolen from the state during Zuma’s rule.

The Guptas, some of whom reside in the emirate of Dubai, deny any wrongdoing. Zuma has also denied any wrongdoing.

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