Whether the Department of International Relations and Cooperation has taken any steps to secure the release of South African citizens held at prisons in the United Arab Emirates who have been lured and duped

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NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES

QUESTION NO: 29 (CO51E) AS APPEARED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER 1-2014 OF 11 MARCH 2014

Mr M P JACOBS (ANC-FS) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:

(1) Whether her department has taken any steps to secure the release of certain persons held at different prisons in the United Arab Emirates (details furnished) who have been lured and duped; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what steps.

The Department has rendered consular assistance to the affected persons by visiting them in prison on a regular basis and providing feedback to their families. The Department also sent an official from Consular Services to visit the persons in prison as well as to interact with their legal representatives to get more insight into the case and offer assistance as may be required. The Department has also provided the attorneys statements of complaints by other SA nationals who allege that they have been also been defrauded by the same gentleman.

(2) whether the said persons are the only South Africans who have been duped; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details;

As stated above, the Department is aware of other South Africans who claim to have been defrauded by the same gentleman:

Whether her department has referred the matter to Interpol; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;

The Department has not referred the matter to Interpol but has encouraged one of the complainants to report the matter to local police in Dubai. The Department is however aware that two of the affected people have reported the matter to the SAPS. The Department has been in contact with a representative from Interpol on the case and has offered to share information.

(3) whether her department has given any legal assistance to the said persons; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;

The Department has not given legal assistance to the said person because it is not Departmental policy to offer such assistance.

(4) whether her department is conducting any awareness programmes to educate South Africans in order to avoid being lured into such business scams; if not, why not; if so, what awareness programmes?

The Department has not conducted any awareness campaigns on this specific topic because we have not experienced other similar cases in the past.

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