Justice Minister may face extradition conundrum
Although the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court has ruled that former Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang can be extradited to the US, where he is wanted on charges related to a $2bn debt scandal, the ruling effectively constitutes only a recommendation to Justice Minister Michael Masutha, who has the final say.
Chang has been in custody in SA since December when he was arrested at the request of the US for his alleged involvement in $2bn of borrowing US authorities say was fraudulent.
Business Day notes that Mozambique’s subsequent acknowledgement of the undisclosed borrowing prompted donors to cut off support and triggered a currency collapse. Chang’s lawyers had argued against him being sent to the US, where a trial would be likely to lift the lid on unknown details of the debt affair with potential implications for senior members of Mozambique’s governing party ahead of elections in October.
Instead, they argued he should be extradited to Mozambique, where he faces charges related to the loans.
The Magistrate’s Court will now consider Mozambique’s request for Chang’s extradition. Masutha will then have the final say on where Chang should be extradited. International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has previously said that Chang should be handed back to Mozambique.
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