The Mozambican government has asked the Johannesburg High Court for leave to appeal against the court’s order this week that former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang should be extradited to the US to face corruption charges.

High Court Judge Margaret Victor on Wednesday overturned South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola’s decision of August 23 that Chang should be extradited instead to Mozambique.

Victor ruled that Lamola’s decision was unconstitutional, irrational and invalid because he had not taken it in the light of all the relevant facts. These were mainly that the Mozambique government had not made it clear that Chang did not enjoy immunity from prosecution. 

He apparently had enjoyed immunity as a Cabinet minister and member of Parliament and though he was no longer a minister or an MP, it was not clear whether or not he would still enjoy immunity from prosecution for his actions as a minister and MP. 

Victor said the Mozambican government had given contradictory testimony about Chang’s immunity, raising doubts that he would be prosecuted for complicity in the so-called hidden debts scandal. 

Chang was arrested in transit through Johannesburg’s international airport in December 2018 on a US arrest warrant. 

First the US and then Mozambique had asked South Africa to extradite him to face charges arising from the scandal. As finance minister, he is alleged to have accepted millions of dollars as a bribe to sign the Mozambican government…

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