Mozambique’s former President, Joaquim Chissano, has defended the repatriation of all assets that may be illegally held by ex Finance minister, Manuel Chang, who is currently detained in neighbouring South Africa, following a US warrant of arrest.
Chang is charged by a US court with several financial crimes, in a scandal involving more than $2 billion.
Therefore, the United States has issued an arrest warrant against the former Mozambican ruler who is accused of conspiracy to commit electronic fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to violate provisions against bribery and internal control and conspiracy to committing money laundering offenses.
Chang was in charge of Mozambique’s finances when it failed to disclose government guarantees for $2 billion in international borrowing by state-owned firms.
Speaking on state radio on Thursday, 10 January 2019, Chissano said he believes that justice will be administered the right way to ensure the repatriation of the stolen monies.
“May it [be repatriated]! if there is money to be returned in Mozambique, it would be useful,” he said.
On the strategies for recovering the value in question, Chissano said he did not have an adequate response.
“I do not know. The person who is put in prison may have no means of how to return the money. If there are ways to do it, it will not be bad,” said the former head of state.
Chissano ruled Mozambique for eighteen years before voluntarily stepping down in 2004.
“The key here is that we will have this mission ahead of us. But I trust that the institutions of justice, both in Mozambique and South Africa, and in the United States of America, will know how to go along the path of justice,” he said.
The Attorney General of the Republic of Mozambique (PGR) says it is already working to recover the assets in question in the biggest financial scandal since independence in 1975.
To this end, the PGR has contracted international experts who will assist in the evaluation of existing assets and in the identification and seizure of assets illegally acquired by the defendants in the case.
Mozambique’s acknowledgement in 2016 of the undisclosed borrowing prompted the International Monetary Fund and foreign donors to cut off support, triggering a currency collapse and a debt crisis that it is still struggling to tackle.