The US embassy in Pretoria says it is disappointed by Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha's decision to have former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang extradited to his home country instead of the US.
"The US embassy in Pretoria notes with great disappointment the media statement issued by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services indicating that the Republic of South Africa, despite having received our formal extradition request before that of the Republic of Mozambique," the embassy said in a statement on Wednesday.
The embassy has urged the South African government to extradite Chang to the US to stand trial for the his alleged crimes, which "victimized US citizens and robbed the government of Mozambique of over $700 million."
Chang was arrested on December 29 in South Africa. He is wanted by the US for his alleged involvement in financial crimes totalling $2bn.
In a statement announcing his decision for the extradition on Tuesday, Masutha said he noted the request by the US was submitted a few weeks before Mozambique's and considered the matter in its full context.
Masutha said he is satisfied that the interest of justice will be best served by acceding to the request of the Mozambique government.
"Manuel Chang is accused of carrying out a $2 billion (nearly R28 billion) fraud and money laundering scheme that took advantage of the US financial system and defrauded US investors. It is because of Chang's alleged involvement in these financial crimes that the United States sought Mr. Chang's arrest and extradition" the US embassy said.