Former Minister of Finance of Mozamique "shops" for a better country to be delivered to


Former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang is "shopping" to deliver a milder country and seems to have settled in his homeland over the US.

He said so through his advocate Willie Vermeulen, SC, in the district court of Kempton Park in Ekurhuleni, where Chang fights his extradition.

The former cabinet member was arrested on December 30 in connection with a US warrant for "alleged conspiracy for fraud and $ 1 million in bribes in a $ 2 billion loan scandal," News24 said earlier this year.

Chang was on his way to Dubai when he was arrested.

The arrest warrant issued by the Mozambican government for Chang on 4 March was overturned by the court, as he had already been arrested.

"He prefers to be extradited to Mozambique, and there is no point in being tried in the US," Vermeulen said.

READ: Former Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang is to find out if he is being extradited

Prosecutor JJ Du Toit, SC, however, struck back and said that Vermeulen did everything in his power to ensure that his client is sent to Mozambique and that this request should not be taken into account by the court.

"The customer wants to dictate to the court where it wants to go.

"Each country should have the same opportunity to have its delivery request properly assessed for merit and not let both hear at the same time," Du Toit said.

"But the minister (Minister of Justice Michael Masutha) will not consider any of these petitions unless the court has ruled," Du Toit argued.

Chang wanted his delivery issues (to the US and Mozambique) to be heard at the same time.

READ: The former Mozambican Minister of Finance Manuel Chang has rejected the bail

Judge William Schoutte said nothing in his sentence, saying that "the law does not provide for a consolidated hearing on the extradition case, and both matters should be heard separately, with their merits being taken into account".

"In my order, the court can not order whether both (extradition) should be summarized in a case.

"The request of the Mozambican government should run separately from that of the USA."

On Thursday, a concerned group of NGOs from Mozambique had requested to become friends of the court to support Chang's extradition to the US, but the request was rejected by Schoutte.

It is up to the court to decide if Chang should be extradited or not.

From March 11, the court will begin to hear arguments from both the state and the defense as to whether the US extradition request meets the requirements of the South African Constitution.

Once this process is completed and the judge has issued a decision, the request of the Mozambican Government is heard and also examined.

Both, one or none of the requirements, could be granted or denied. If both extradition requests are granted, Masutha has to decide which country Chang should be delivered to.