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Photo: O País
Mozambique ex-finance minister Manuel Chang’s extradition case has been postponed to March 9 and he is to remain in custody in South Africa, journalists attending the court session have reported.
Mozambique ex-finance minister Manuel Chang’s extradition case postponed to March 9. Both the U.S. and Mozambique want to extradite him. https://t.co/iyYL49ATn6
— Matt Hill (@mattstephenhill) February 26, 2019
Read below a brief report brought by ‘O País’ on the Kempton Park Court hearing, where Chang’s lawyers pushed to submit Mozambique’s extradition request today:
Public prosecutor assures he has no intention to refuse extradition to Maputo
“The prosecution has no intention of refusing to consider Mozambique’s request,” the prosecutor said today in Manuel Chang’s extradition hearing.
Public prosecutor J.J. Du Toit said that the South African Ministry of Justice had already received advice that both requests be examined in due course. “We want to protect the integrity of each case, and we prefer the court to decide on each request at different times,” he said.
One of Chang’s defence team’s arguments today was that the prosecutors already had a preference for the American request. Lawyers for the Assembly of the Republic deputy have already made it clear that they prefer that Chang be returned to his country of origin, based on the SADC protocol on extradition.
Judge William Schutte says the decision as to whether the two cases will be in his hands or not will depend on the director of prosecutors.
The public prosecutor further told the court that he only received the documents from Mozambique last Thursday and that the procedures required for the paperwork to be submitted to the court, which can take up to two days, would begin today.
Chang’s defence wages war on extradition request
Manuel Chang’s lawyers have just officially announced in the Kempton Park court that Maputo is also requesting the extradition of Manuel Chang, calling in a point of order at the start of the hearing that the request be examined by the court today.
The South African lawyer Willie Vermeulen told the court that he had spoken with the prosecutor JJ du Toit, and claimed he had told him that he would refuse to consider the request from Mozambique. The defence wanted to officially deliver the Mozambican request, but the judge questioned asked on what competence they intended to submit it. The judge explained that requests for extradition must be delivered by prosecutors, but the defence insists that the request can be delivered voluntarily and not necessarily by an institution.
The Public Prosecutor explained that he has no intention of refusing to receive the request from Mozambique. “When the Public Prosecutor receives documents, he shares them with all stakeholders (lawyers and judge),” JJ Du Toit said, explaining that the petition that is being examined today was following the same route from receipt to court review.
Du Toit has just confirmed that the MP has received the request from Mozambique but what is at stake right now is the United States request. The prosecutor says that Manuel Chang has all the rights guaranteed and that the request from Maputo will be analysed.
Court begins to examine extradition of Manuel Chang
The hearing on Manuel Chang’s extradition request to the United States of America begins soon in the Kempton Park court in South Africa.
This is the main issue in the case following the former Mozambican finance minister’s arrest on 29 December at Oliver Thambo Airport in Johannesburg while en route for Dubai.
Since his arrest, and shortly before they submitted documentation, the Americans have been seeking Chang’s extradition to New York to answer charges of conspiracy in electronic and real estate fraud and money laundering.
The prosecution is represented by prosecutor JJ Du Toit, and the defence by the team’s senior lawyer, Willie Vermeuland. The case is being heard by Judge William Schutte.
By Antonio TiuaSource: Twitter / O País
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