Mozambique: Government Will Not Intervene in Chang Case

Mozambique's former finance minister Manuel Chang appears in court during an extradition hearing in Johannesburg.

Maputo — The Mozambican and South African governments have no intention of interfering in the case of former Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang, who is currently under police custody in Johannesburg.

Chang was detained at OR Tambo international airport, on 29 December, while on his way to Dubai. The authority for his detention was an international arrest warrant, issued at the request of the United States authorities, who want to extradite Chang to New York to stand trial on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud and securities fraud.

Chang's arrest was one of the matters discussed when South African President Cyril Ramaphosa held talks with this Mozambican counterpart, Filipe Nyusi, during a working visit to Maputo on Monday.

A second detention discussed was that of South African businessman Andre Hannekon, who is charged with assisting and financing the islamist insurgency in parts of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado - charges which his wife, Frances, regards as absurd.

In both cases, the Presidents showed no inclination to intervene. A final statement from the meeting declared that "in both situations the two heads of state stressed the need to wait for the normal course of justice and let the competent institutions do their job in the framework of the separation of powers".

The composition of Ramaphosa's delegation indicates that security matters were high up on the agenda. He was accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele and the Minister of State Security, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba.

The delegations stressed "the need for greater collaboration between the defence and security bodies of the two countries, to confront the challenges to security, above all acts of criminals, maritime piracy and other cross-border crimes".

The word used in the Portuguese version of the statement, and translated here as "criminals", is "malfeitores" - the term the Mozambican government uses habitually to describe the terrorist gangs operating in the northern districts of Cabo Delgado.

Nyusi and Ramaphosa were pleased at the progress made in implementing understandings between the Mozambican government and the former rebel movement Renamo about the "disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of armed Renamo men, in order to make viable the prevailing environment of peace".

They expressed satisfaction at the "excellent bilateral relations" between Mozambique and South Africa", but stressed the need "to stimulate economic cooperation, through greater investment in energy, tourism, agriculture, infrastructures, and transport and communication, particularly maritime transport and shipbuilding".

The two Presidents said that the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region is "politically stable" citing the recent general elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Madagascar. But they also called for greater regional economic integration through implementation of the SADC industrialisation strategy.

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