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The extradition of former Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang is back to court today in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Manuel Chang has been in custody in South Africa since his arrest there in December at the request of the US for his alleged involvement in US$2bn of borrowing US authorities say was fraudulent. He denies any wrongdoing.
The hearing will be chaired by Gauteng High Court Judge Dunstan Mlambo, appointed in 2012 by former South African President Jacob Zuma. The case is unprecedented in South Africa as it involves two competing extradition requests, from both the United States and Mozambique.
Shortly after his appointment by President Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s current Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, asked the court, on July 13, to review Manuel Chang’s extradition to Mozambique.
An affidavit filed on Lamola’s behalf said he wanted an opportunity to consider whether Chang could be extradited to the US. His predecessor, Michael Masutha, had announced on May 21 the decision repatriate Manuel Chang to Mozambique, to the detriment of the US claim. Masutha announced his decision on his last day in office.
Speaker of the Mozambican parliament Verónica Macamo announced on July 24 that Manuel Chang had resigned as a member of the Assembly of the Republic and had therefore lost his parliamentary immunity.
In addition to requests from the South African government, the Mozambican Budget Monitoring Forum NGO and the Government of Mozambique, the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Johannesburg, will also hear that of Manuel Chang, submitted on 26 June, in which he asks the South African Ministry of Justice to enforce the decision of the former Justice minister to extradite him to Mozambique.
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi’s government has instructed the law firm Mabunda Incorporated, of Bedfordview, Johannesburg, to intervene on behalf of the Mozambican state to persuade Pretoria to reconsider Manuel Chang’s extradition to his home country.
The detention and extradition request of Manuel Chang is related to his role in providing guarantees from the former Mozambican government, chaired by former President Armando Guebuza, for loans amounting to US$2.2 billion (two billion euros) to create the Mozambican state-owned maritime security and fishing companies Ematum, Proindicus and MAM. The guarantees were issued without the knowledge of the Assembly of the Republic or the Administrative Tribunal of Mozambique.
Three former Credit Suisse bankers have already pleaded guilty in New York, where the Mozambican hidden debts case is being tried, to conspiring to launder money.Source: Lusa
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