Mozambique to appeal court ruling on extradition of ex-Finance Minister to U.S.

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MAPUTO (Businesshala) – Mozambique will appeal a South African court’s decision to extradite its former finance minister Manuel Chang to the United States instead of his home country, its attorney-general’s office said on Thursday.

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The United States and Mozambique have both requested Chang’s extradition over his alleged role in a $2 billion loan scam, and since his 2018 arrest in South Africa, a battle over where he should face charges has been ongoing. Is.

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Chang has denied wrongdoing.

A South African court on Wednesday overturned an earlier decision by the country’s justice minister to deport Chang to Mozambique and ruled that he should be deported to the United States.

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“Mozambique does not accept a substitution of a previous decision in favor of the United States, a state that is competing with Mozambique in the extradition request,” the office said in a statement.

To that end, it continued, with Mozambique instructing its lawyers to halt the extradition, file an appeal and seek a hearing of the case in South Africa’s top court.

Chang is wanted in relation to a $2 billion state-backed loan, which he signed during his 2005–2015 tenure as finance minister, for projects spanning tuna fishing, shipyard development and maritime security.

However, hundreds of millions of dollars disappeared, including kickbacks, officials say, while many of the promised benefits never materialized.

Donors such as the International Monetary Fund cut support when the full extent of borrowings were disclosed, leading to currency collapse and loan defaults.

Mozambique is on trial for 19 people allegedly involved in the scandal – one of several ongoing criminal and civil trials globally.

Although campaigners say that Chang will only face fair justice in the United States. Analysts say a trial could also expose the case to damage to the ruling Freelimo party.

Reporting by Manuel Mukari: Writing by Emma Rumani, Editing by Andrei Khalipi

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