05/10/2017 06:29 SAST | Updated 05/10/2017 06:29 SAST

Abrahams: No Treaty Needed To Extradite State Capture Suspects Abroad

Shaun Abrahams says South Africa can prosecute suspects who have moved abroad without an extradition treaty.

Head of the National Prosecuting Authority, Shaun Abrahams.
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Head of the National Prosecuting Authority, Shaun Abrahams.

South Africa could easily extradite state-capture suspects from another country with which it does not have an extradition treaty, National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, has said.

Business Day reported on Thursday that Abrahams came under fire in Parliament on Wednesday for the perception that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was dragging its feet in pursuing state capture suspects, particularly the Gupta family.

It has long been suspected that the family and other suspects will move to Dubai, making it difficult, if not impossible, to extradite them should prosecutions occur.

But Abrahams said this was not the case.

Abrahams previously said the NPA was investigating state capture. He previously told Parliament that the NPA was assisting the Hawks in a multifaceted probe, and said his "silence" did not mean that work was not taking place.

Appearing before Parliament's portfolio committee on justice this week, Abrahams reportedly said South Africa's anticorruption laws allowed for "executorial jurisdiction" even when someone lived in a country with which South Africa does not have an extradition treaty, Business Day reported.

"We don't need a treaty to extradite anybody from anywhere in the world. But it does help, it does assist... International law is broad enough to allow us to apply for extradition of people anywhere in the world," Abrahams reportedly said.

South Africa could also approach Interpol to prevent suspects from leaving the country.

Meanwhile, the NPA reportedly pleaded with Parliament for more funds, saying it needed an additional R250-million to do its work. Abrahams said the NPA spent R32-million more than its adjusted budget in the 2016/17 financial year. He reportedly said this put pressure on staff, the aspiring prosecutors' programmes, and operations.