Maputo Asks Johannesburg High Court to Order South Africa to Extradite Former Mozambican Finance Minister

Mozambique's former finance minister Manuel Chang appears in court during an extradition hearing in Johannesburg (file image)

16 MAY 2021

Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

ANALYSIS

By Peter Fabricius

The Mozambican government says Pretoria has been 'grossly unreasonable' in detaining Manuel Chang for more than 28 months.

The Mozambican government has launched an application in the Johannesburg High Court for an order compelling Justice Minister Ronald Lamola to extradite former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang "without further delay."

Maputo complains that South Africa has violated Chang's right to justice by holding him in prison for nearly 29 months awaiting extradition either back to Mozambique or to the US to face corruption and fraud charges arising from a $2-billion loan scam in Mozambique in 2013 and 2014.

Lamola's "failing and/or neglecting" to make a decision for such a long time "has become grossly unreasonable", the Mozambican government's attorney said in an affidavit to the high court last week.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is seemingly trapped in a dilemma about what to do with Chang. A recommendation from Lamola that Chang should be extradited to the US has been sitting on the president's desk for several months, according to various sources.

Lamola's case is founded on solid legal principles, But hardliners and sympathisers of Mozambique's ruling Frelimo party among Ramaphosa's advisers have been pushing a contrary political argument that he should instead...



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