November 04, 2019
Mozambique’s former finance minister Manuel Chang. File Photo: Reuters/Shaffiek Tassiem
Former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang faces the prospect of being extradited to the US to face trial after a South African court ruled against him being sent to his home country.
Chang’s fate is now with South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola after the court set aside his predecessor’s decision to extradite him to Mozambique.
Chang was arrested in the country last year on the request of the US government in relation to a scandal involving $2 billion (R30.2bn) worth of secret loans guaranteed by Mozambique’s government during his tenure from 2005 to 2015.
Companies set up by Mozambique’s secret services and defence ministry borrowed the money in secret to set up maritime projects that never materialised but allegedly enriched a range of local and foreign players.
The fallout affected some US investors.
Mozambique is now trying to legally disavow part of the debt and restructure another part, which the country will be repaying for years to come.