A United Nations (UN) convention could potentially secure the extradition of Ajay Gupta from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where it is believed he is currently residing, and ensure that he answers to corruption charges in South Africa.
The UN’s Convention Against Corruption of 2003, ratified by the UAE in that year and by South Africa a year later, would overlook the fact that the two countries don’t have extradition agreements with each other.
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.
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.
Various wealthy South Africans, including Magda Wierzycka and Paul O’Sullivan, have donated over R1 million as a reward for information on the whereabouts and assisted apprehension of Ajay Gupta.
The Hawks have now stated that Interpol will also be asked to assist in tracking the fleeing Gupta.