FILE - Mozambique's former finance minister Manuel Chang appears in court during an extradition hearing in Johannesburg, South Africa, Jan. 8, 2019.
FILE - Mozambique's former finance minister Manuel Chang appears in court during an extradition hearing in Johannesburg, South Africa, Jan. 8, 2019.

Reacting to South Africa’s late statement that the former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang will be extradited to his home country, Mozambican government said it will follow the decision of justice authorities.

“I have decided that the accused Mr Manuel Chang, will be extradited to stand trial for his alleged offences in Mozambique,” reported by a local media as quoting South African Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha’s statement on Tuesday.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique Jose Pacheco said the government’s expectation is that the justice authorities will position themselves to the right side in their full capacity based on the rules of separation of powers.

“We all know that Mozambique respect all rules of separation of powers, they (justice department) will be free to make decisions with their full competence,” said the foreign minister to the press on the sidelines of a foreign affairs meeting in Maputo on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the main opposition party and civil society expressed doubts about the condemnation of Chang by the domestic justice.

In a press conference specifically to express their view on the decision, Renamo spokesman Jose Manteigas said on Wednesday Mozambicans are waiting for the first time for the judiciary to respect the law so that all those involved in unconstitutional and illegal debts are held criminally and civilly responsible.

Chang was detained in Johannesburg in December 2018, based on an international arrest warrant issued by the U.S. for alleged involvement in crimes of money laundry and the scandal of “hidden debts.”

Only several weeks after the U.S. requested that Chang should stand trial in New York, using the extradition treaty between South Africa and the U.S., the Mozambican Attorney-General’s Office requested Chang’s extradition back to Mozambique.

Local media reported that the South African justice minister’s decision was a result of weighing of the U.S.-S.A. Extradition Treaty, and the South African Development Community Protocol on Extradition.

Though the decision is not final and there is still room for the U.S. to appeal, the statement has sparked voices from the civil society against Chang’s extradition to Mozambique. Enditem

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