South Africa - Mozambique- Society

S/Africa to extradite Mozambique’s ex-minister - Report

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

South Africa will extradite Mozambique's former finance minister Manuel Chang held in a Johannesburg jail since December on a US-issued international arrest warrant, according to a press report.

Chang, aged 63, was arrested at Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport on 29 December over his alleged involvement in US$2.0 billion of fraudulent loans to Mozambican state firms.

While the United States authorities were the first to request for Chang’s extradition, Maputo has also issued an extradition request for him to return home to stand trial on suspicion of financial misconduct, the press report said on Thursday.

Last week, he lost a court bid to be freed on bail and was only waiting for the court to authorise his departure for the USA.

But now South Africa's Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has said Chang would be handed over to Maputo, and not to Washington.

"We're sending him to Mozambique to be tried there," Sisulu told South Africa's Daily Maverick news website.

"We believe that is the easiest thing for everybody. As soon as we are done with the Interpol case, we will allow Mozambique to have their former minister back," Sisulu said, adding that the process would be "expedited."

Chang, who is due back in court in Johannesburg on 26 February, is said to have pocketed US$12 million as his cut from the multibillion dollar loan scam that plunged Maputo into an economic crisis since 1975.


NM/as/APA

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