Extradition of former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang halted

Mozambican civil society organisations are opposing the recent decision by justice minister Ronald Lamola to extradite Chang to Mozambique

25 August 2021 - 22:23 By ernest mabuza
The extradition of former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang to his home country has been halted to allow the court application by a coalition of Mozambican organisations - which want to stop the extradition - to be heard.
The extradition of former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang to his home country has been halted to allow the court application by a coalition of Mozambican organisations - which want to stop the extradition - to be heard.
Image: REUTERS/Shafiek Tassiem

The extradition of former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang to his home country has been temporarily halted.

This follows an application by a coalition of Mozambican civil society organisations that are opposing the recent decision by justice minister Ronald Lamola to extradite Chang to Mozambique, and not to the US, to face fraud and corruption charges.

That application by Forum de Monitoria Do Orcamento will be heard in the high court in Johannesburg on Friday.

In an order issued by the court on Wednesday, Lamola made an undertaking that Chang would not be extradited until judgment in the application is handed down.

Chang has been in prison in SA since December 2018, after the execution of a warrant of arrest at the request of the US, after it charged him with fraud and corruption. Chang was arrested for his alleged involvement in fraudulent loans worth billions to Mozambican state firms.

After his arrest, both the US and Mozambique issued requests for his extradition to their respective countries to stand trial.

The then justice minister Michael Masutha decided in May 2019 to extradite Chang to Mozambique.

That decision was set aside by his successor,  Lamola,  a month later while he sought legal advice as to which country Chang should be extradited to.

Lamola said after representations by Mozambican authorities recently — that Chang was not immune from prosecution in Mozambique — he decided that Chang be extradited to his home country where he will stand trial on a number of charges.

These include abuse of position and function, fraud by deception, embezzlement and money laundering.

Chang has denied wrongdoing.

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