South Africa’s decision to extradite former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang to his home country has been blocked pending a court hearing after a civil society organisation objected, Reuters news agency reports, quoting court documents.
Mr Chang is accused of corruption after allegedly receiving bribes to sign off on international loans of $2bn (£1.5bn) intended to buy fishing trawlers and military patrol boats. However, much of it was allegedly diverted to government officials. Mr Chang denies any wrongdoing.
South Africa’s Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has given an undertaking that Mr Chang will not be extradited” until a decision is handed down by a court on Friday, Reuters reports.
The hearing will focus on an application by the Mozambique Budget Monitoring Forum (FMO), a group of civil society organisations, to stop the extradition until arguments against it can be heard.
It wants the ex-minister to be extradited to the US, where he is also wanted on similar charges, Reuters reports.
Chang was arrested in December 2018 and held in South Africa while the government considered the rival extradition requests.
Civil society groups in South Africa and Mozambique have questioned whether Mozambique has the political will or capacity to mount a proper prosecution. – BBC