JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Mozambique’s former finance minister Manuel Chang will be extradited to his home country where he is wanted on charges related to a $2 billion debt scandal, South Africa’s Justice Minister Michael Masutha said on Tuesday.
Chang has been in custody in South Africa since December, when he was arrested at the request of the United States for his alleged involvement in $2 billion of borrowing that U.S. authorities say was fraudulent.
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.
Masutha had to decide whether to have Chang extradited to Mozambique or the United States following requests from both countries.
“I am satisfied that the interest of justice will be best served by acceding to the request by the Republic of Mozambique,” Masutha said in a statement.
“I have decided that the accused, Mr. Manuel Chang, will be extradited to stand trial for his alleged offences in Mozambique.”
Masutha said he considered in his decision that Chang was a citizen of Mozambique and that he had requested to be extradited to his home country, among other things.
Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Bill Berkrot