Mozambique: Extradition of Former Mozambique Finance Minister Halted

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

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has authorised his Director General Vusi Madonsela to file papers opposing former Mozambique Finance Minister Manuel Chang's application to be extradited.

Chang was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg last year for his alleged involvement in fraudulent loans to Mozambican state firms.

In a statement released on Saturday, the department said Chang enjoys double immunity in terms of Mozambican law.

"The department filed its own application on the same matter placing before the court new information that only emerged after the former Minister had decided to extradite Mr Chang to Mozambique.

"Such immunities appear to suggest that any extradition to Mozambique will contravene the SADC Protocol, South African Constitution and the Extradition Act. As such the previous decision may not be legally permissible," read the statement.

This emerged after a decision was initially taken to extradite Chang to Mozambique.

The South African Extradition Act also requires that in order for a person to be extradited, they should have been charged for the crimes he or she is alleged to have committed.

In Chang's case it is not the case since his immunities were not yet lifted.

"It is for the above reasons that the Minister authorised the Director-General to oppose Mr Chang's application," said the department.

In light of this information the department has approached the court to take into account the new information viz-a-vis former Minister Michael Masutha's decision.

"The Minister will be guided by the outcomes of the three applications on what action to take. He has further expressed his confidence in the South African judiciary, describing it as robust, objective and independent," read the statement.

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