South Africa’s Minister of Justice and Correctional Services has appealed to the Supreme Court to suspend the extradition of former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang.
Chang has been in custody in South Africa since December 2018 when he was arrested at the request of the United States for his alleged involvement in the borrowing of $two billion dollars, which the US authorities say was fraudulently done.
He denies any wrongdoing.
Ronald Lamola’s appeal seeks to overturn an earlier decision by former South African justice minister, Michael Masutha, in May to send Chang back to Mozambique so that he can face charges of fraudulently getting a loan on behalf of the Mozambican government, the proceeds of which were never accounted for.
Masutha’s decision allegedly displeased US officials and rights activists who subsequently challenged it in court.
South Africa’s Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services said in a statement that the decision to suspend the extradition followed an urgent request by Chang that he be handed over to the Mozambican courts.
In response, minister Ronald Lamola said that he had received additional documents from Mozambican civil society.
During his time as finance minister, Chang signed off on the loans, which were guaranteed by the government, although some of them were not disclosed.
Mozambique’s subsequent acknowledgement of the undisclosed borrowing prompted donors to cut off support and triggered a currency collapse.