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South Africa’s foreign minister Lindiwe Sisulu has said the detention of Mozambique’s former finance minister Manuel Chang does not affect bilateral relations as leaders of the two countries met.
“The South African President is free to go and see his counterpart at any time, it has nothing to do with Hanekom or the [former Mozambican] Minister of Finance,” said the head of the South African diplomacy in reference to that country’s citizen Andre Hanekom and Chang, detained in Johannesburg at the end of December.
“Interpol and South Africa have a protocol whereby they can make us a request to stop a passenger passing through our ports, provided they bring us a reason,” said the minister, adding, “If we are satisfied with the reason, we act, and this is what we did in the case of the former minister of finance of Mozambique.”
On Hanekom arrested in August for alleged involvement in terrorist attacks in northern Mozambique, Sisulu said the ambassador in Maputo “went to investigate and managed to interact with Hanekom”.
Her comments are in response to South African press reports on an alleged diplomatic row between the two countries over the arrest of Chang, accused by the US court of having received bribes under the hidden loans of two Mozambican public companies.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa travelled to Maputo on Monday to hold bilateral talks with President Filipe Nyusi.
South African presidency spokeswoman Khusela Diko said the working visit to Mozambique aims to “discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of common concern” for both countries.
“South Africa and Mozambique enjoy excellent economic, political and cultural relations since the times of the struggle against apartheid,” the note said.
According to the statement, President Ramaphosa is accompanied by the Minister of Defense Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Police Bheki Cele and the Minister of State Security Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba.
Mozambique’s hidden debt of $ 2.2 billion (€ 1,920 million) accounts for half of the country’s total cost of debt, although it accounts for less than 20 percent of the total in absolute terms.
It is under investigation by the American authorities on suspicion of corruption, which led to the detention of the former Minister of Finance of Mozambique.
In addition to the former Mozambican finance minister, the investigation being conducted by US courts has led to the arrest of three former bankers from Credit Suisse in London and a Lebanese intermediary for Privinvest at New York airport.
The ‘hidden debt’ is the term used to describe the loans made at the beginning of this decade to three public companies: the Mozambican Tuna Company (EMATUM), Mozambique Asset Management (MAM) and ProIndicus – entities under the protection of the Ministry of Defense which presented maritime safety projects using Credit Suisse and VTB as financial partners.Source: Lusa
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