The Attorney General’s Office of the Republic acknowledges that there is nothing more to be done in an attempt to extradite Manuel Cheng to Mozambique and accuses the South African courts of having taken unjust decisions, for having refused to analyse the substance of the case and only observed the formal issues. For the OPG, it is in Mozambique where Manuel Cheng should be tried.
The Constitutional Court of South Africa refused yesterday to authorize the Mozambican Government to file an appeal to try to reverse the decision to extradite the former Finance Minister, Manuel Chang, to the United States of America.
The Attorney General’s Office issued a statement, in which it expresses dissatisfaction with the decision which it considers unjust.
“This decision has negative implications for ongoing processes in Mozambique and abroad. Mozambique continues to believe that its foundations are valid, and unfortunately at no time were they attended to by the South African courts, which stayed on questions of form, to the detriment of matters of substance, which in our view, is an unfair decision,” the document said.
In the statement, the OPG acknowledged that it has nothing more to do for the extradition of Manuel Chang to Mozambique to take place.
“Due to the fact that the request was dismissed, in this instance, in February 2023, Mozambique convinced that its request had sufficient grounds, submitted, again to the Constitutional Court that dismissed it, claiming that there were no reasonable prospects of success in the appeal and ordered the extradition of Manuel Chang to the United States of America, a decision taken by the last instance, there being no more room for any appeal.”
Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Office reiterates in the document that Mozambique is the only jurisdiction that should judge Manuel Chang, as it is where the facts occurred and “the injured party is the State and the Mozambican people and there is a need to compensate them for the damages caused.”
Furthermore, some actions carried out by the Attorney General’s Office since 2019 for the extradition of the former minister to the country are described in the document.
“On 21 May 2019, the then Minister of Economy and Finance of the Republic of South Africa decided for the extradition of Manuel Chang to the Republic of Mozambique. However, his successor, the current Minister of Justice, because he disagreed with that decision, appealed to the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng, which gave precedent for the request being referred back to the minister for re-examination. On 10 November 2021, the High Court of South Africa invalidated and annulled the decision of the Minister of Justice ordering the extradition of Manuel Chang to Mozambique, replacing it with the decision to extradite Manuel Chang to the United States of America. On 07 June 2022, the Constitutional Court of South Africa rejected the request for authorisation to lodge an appeal on the grounds that all lower courts had not been exhausted,” the document said.