Govt still quiet about extradition of Mozambique's former finance minister Manuel Chang

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Manuel Chang, former finance minister of Mozambique. (Wikus de wet, AFP)
Manuel Chang, former finance minister of Mozambique. (Wikus de wet, AFP)
  • Southern African Human Rights Defenders called for the extradition of Manuel Chang to the United States.
  • They question why it's taking Justice Minister Ronald Lamola so long to decide. 
  • Chang is wanted in the United States in connection with allegations of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has failed to respond to calls by civil society protesters to extradite the former Mozambican finance minister, Manuel Chang, to stand trial in the United States on charges of fraud and accepting bribes.

Chang has been in custody in South Africa since December 2018, when he was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport on his way to Dubai.

READ: Manuel Chang: Over 2 years in SA custody, justice minister still mum about his fate

He is wanted in the United States in connection with allegations of conspiracy to commit fraud and taking millions of dollars in bribes in Mozambique's $2 billion loan scandal.

Speaking to journalists in Pretoria, Adriano Nuvunga, the director of the Centro Para Democracia e Desenvolvimento, in Mozambique, said there was "complicity between the Mozambican and the South African government" because of the fraternal relationship between the governing ANC and Frelimo parties, "and we think this is being given more importance than the rule of law".

He also believed the relationship between the parties was being prioritised at the expense of those who were poor and suffering.

Nuvunga was one of a group of civil society activists, under the banner of Southern African Human Rights Defenders, to picket in front of the Mozambican high commission in Pretoria about the matter.

He said the country's loan scandal had left it with a socio-economic crisis, unable to properly look after the sick or to deal with the violent insurgency in the north of that country.

The Kempton Park Magistrate's Court in April 2019 ruled that Chang should be extradited to the United States, after Mozambique made a similar request.

There were, however, fears that justice would not be served if Chang returned to Mozambique.

READ | Lamola yet to reach decision on former Mozambique finance minister's extradition fate

News24 approached Lamola's spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri, for comment, but he has not yet responded.

It will be added when received.

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