Earlier today, August 27, the South African High Court blocked the extradition of former Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang to Mozambique.
The order (here) came in response to an urgent request (here) by the Forum De Monitoria Do Orçamento, a coalition of Mozambican civil society groups, raising serious doubts that were Chang, a senior member of Mozambique’s ruling party, returned he would face justice for his part in a scheme that drove millions of fellow citizens into poverty and cost the impoverished nation billions of dollars in lost GDP (here).
The United States is also seeking Chang’s extradition for participating in the hidden debt scheme, and there is a widespread belief he is far more likely to face justice if extradited there. South African law bars the government from picking Mozambique over the United States if it does not think Change will be tried, or if tried, the trial will be anything more than theatre. The court has ordered South African Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola to produce the documents justifying his choice of Mozambique by August 30. A hearing on the decision is set for September 17. If the court finds the evidence supporting the decision insufficient, “irrational” in South African legal terms, it will vacate the extradition order.
Separately, Centro para Democracia e Desenvolvimento, a Mozambican civil society organization and FMO member, has released English language summaries of the first four days of the hidden debt trial. Click on the day to see: Day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4.