Mozambique’s former finance minister to be extradited to the US

Manuel Chang, former finance minister of Mozambique. (Wikus de Wet, AFP)

  • Mozambique’s former finance minister Manuel Chang will be extradited to the US, not to Maputo.
  • This was in terms of a ruling by the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
  • Chang, who has been in custody in South Africa since 2018, will be extradited to stand trial for alleged criminal offences involving $2 billion.

Mozambique’s former finance minister Manuel Chang, jailed in South Africa since 2018, will be extradited to the US, the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg ruled on Wednesday.

In terms of the ruling, Chang would be extradited to the US to stand trial for alleged criminal offences involving $2 billion. 

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola had ordered in August that Chang be extradited to Maputo.

High Court estimate Margaret Victor said in her ruling that “in the absence of the proper explanation and assurances to buttress his [Lamola’s] decision, this court cannot find that the decision was rational”.

The ruling was a victory for Mozambican civic society groups, who feared that had Chang been extradited to Mozambique, he would not be held accountable.

Justice spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said: “The ministry will study the written judgment as soon as it is made obtainable and communicate a way forward in due course.”

News24 reported that as Mozambique discovered large off-shore gas deposits nearly a decade ago, officials and the politically connected hoping to cash in set up three companies by which they borrowed $2 billion from Credit Suisse and VTB Russia between 2013 and 2014 – amounting to 12 percent of Mozambique’s GDP.

Instead of developing maritime and security projects, as hypothesizedv to debtors, it was distributed among corrupt individuals.

Chang is accused of signing off on guarantees that led to the so-called hidden debt scandal. The three Credit Suisse bankers pleaded guilty in 2019 in a US court, but had not however been sentenced.

Click: See details

Leave a Reply