Mozambique has world's highest money laundering and terrorist financing risk - Hanlon
File photo: Folha de Maputo
Seven of the Frelimo party MPs in the Assembly of the Republic’s Standing Committee voted in favour of the Supreme Court’s request to detain Deputy Manuel Chang. However, writes @Verdade, the former finance minister who at the time signed Mozambique’s so-called illegal debts still cannot be detained in Mozambique, not only because he is being held in South Africa but more particularly because his immunity as a deputy has to be lifted prior to him being arrested, and this was not requested by the justice authorities.
“The Standing Committee met in extraordinary session [and] analysed the request made by the Supreme Court in the case of the deputy Manuel Chang and, after assessment and the debate, decided in favour of the request,” Frelimo party deputy António José Amélia said on Tuesday.
However, António José Amélia, who is also deputy speaker of the Assembly of the Republic, did not explain that the deliberation was made by the Frelimo MPs only, namely Verónica Macamo, Sérgio Pantie, Hermenegildo Mateus Infante, Elisa Amina Amisse Timóteo, Ana Rita Geremias Sithole and Daniel João Matavele. This was because the Renamo deputies left the session in Maputo, while the Democratic Movement of Mozambique was not represented because its chief whip was absent.
According to Amélia, the Standing Committee, which coordinates the activities of the Assembly of the Republic while it is in recess, “fulfilled its obligations within the requirements of the Supreme Court”.
“[The Standing Committee] did not authorise the Supreme Court to waive immunity, nor could it do so. Therefore at the moment the Supreme Court has to strictly enforce the law so that there is no injury to the rights of a citizen who is also a Member of the Assembly of the Republic,” Amélia said.
According to Amélia, the Supreme Court can only hold Manuel Chang in pre-trial detention when he returns to Mozambique after obtaining authorisation tl do so from a plenary parliamentary session, the only body competent to lift deputies’ immunity, except in the case of ‘flagrante delicto’, which would no longer apply to debts contracted in 2013 and 2014.
“We refuse to be part of a scheme that was set up by the Frelimo party to try to get Mr. Manuel Chang out of the place where he is “
“The Renamo Parliamentary Group in the Standing Committee thinks that Manuel Chang is not at present a concern for us as he is actually under arrest in South Africa, therefore not a defendant who may escape, as alleged in the request sent by the Supreme Court,” Renamo chief whip Ivone Soares explained.
Soares noted that there were 17 other Mozambicans “properly identified, and listed as part of the group that hurt our country, and that these do constitute a threat to justice, in that they can actually escape”.
“(…) We have noticed a hustle and bustle, a rush, a collaboration that we have never seen in other cases between the organs of sovereignty in the sense of wanting to detain someone who is already detained, and we think it is a dilatory manoeuvre to disturb the trial that is being carried out in South Africa and the extradition of Manuel Chang to the United States of America,” Soares said, adding that the parliamentary regime does not allow a deputy enjoying immunity to be held in pre-trial detention.
The opposition whip concluded that “we refuse to be part of a scheme that was set up by Frelimo to try to get Mr. Manuel Chang out of the place where he is being duly investigated, and we hope that the extradition will happen as soon as possible, because we know our justice well, we know very well that it is strong for the weak and weak for the strong”.
The former finance minister, who has been detained in South Africa since 29 December 2018 at the request of the US authorities, is due to appear again at the Johannesburg court on Thursday (31) to contest his extradition to New York where he stands accused in a trial for corruption and money laundering in the matter of loans taken out in favour of the Proindicus, Ematum and MAM companies.
By Adérito CadeiraSource: A Verdade