Court backs arrest of Mozambique ex-minister

Judge Sagra Subroyen ruled in favour of the arrest of Mozambique’s former finance minister Manuel Chang on Wednesday, who was detained at Johannesburg airport over alleged secret loans to Mozambican state companies totalling $2-billion.

Chang’s lawyers argued that his detention by South Africa on a US extradition request was illegal.

But judge Subroyen dismissed the application at Johannesburg’s Kempton Park magistrates court, saying “this court agrees with the state to consider that the arrest warrant is valid”.

Chang, who was Mozambique’s finance minister between 2005 and 2015, is accused by US authorities of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering.

Between 2013 and 2014, Mozambique state-owned security companies borrowed about $2-billion from foreign lenders, but the government only disclosed most of the debt to the International Monetary Fund in 2016.


The hidden debt plunged Mozambique into its worst financial crisis since independence in 1975.

Since Chang’s arrest on December 29, three former employees of Credit Suisse bank have also been arrested in London for possible extradition after being charged in New York.

US prosecutors allege that Chang received $12-million to agree to signing the loan agreements to supposedly finance a tuna-fishing fleet and maritime surveillance project.

About $200-million was spent on bribes and kickbacks, according to the US indictment.

Mozambique’s attorney general said Monday there were 18 defendants in their own investigations into the case, but no convictions have been made since the scandal was unearthed in 2015.

In addition to Chang, two other unnamed Mozambican citizens are accused by US prosecutors of being involved in fraud related to the $2-billion debt.

Businessman Jean Boustani, accused of helping coordinate the alleged fraud, was arrested at a New York airport on January 2.

The arrest of Chang, who is still a lawmaker for the ruling Frelimo party, has fuelled anger in Mozambique over the scandal ahead of elections expected in October.

His lawyers applied for bail on Wednesday.

© Agence France-Presse

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Agency
External source

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

How lottery execs received dubious payments through a private company

The National Lottery Commission is being investigated by the SIU for alleged corruption and maladministration, including suspicious payments made to senior NLC employees between 2016 and 2017

Pandemic hobbles learners’ futures

South African schools have yet to open for the 2021 academic year and experts are sounding the alarm over lost learning time, especially in the crucial grades one and 12

More top stories

What the Biden presidency may mean for Africa

The new US administration has an interest and much expertise in Africa. But given the scale of the priorities the administration faces, Africa must not expect to feature too prominently

Zuma, Zondo play the waiting game

The former president says he will talk once the courts have ruled, but the head of the state capture inquiry appears resigned to letting the clock run out as the commission's deadline nears

Disinformation harms health and democracy

Conspiracy theorists abuse emotive topics to suck the air out of legitimate debate and further their own sinister agendas

Uganda: ‘I have never seen this much tear-gas in an...

Counting was slow across Uganda as a result of the internet shutdown, which affected some of the biometric machines used to validate voter registrations.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…