Rustenburg - Former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang’s extradition to Mozambique from South Africa was delayed on Wednesday after an NGO filed a court application blocking the move.
Forum de Monitoria do Orcamento filed the application in the Johannesburg High Court, seeking the court to stop the extradition.
The court has ordered Minister Ronald Lamola not to extradite Chang to Mozambique before the court has ruled on his case. The hearing was expected to continue on Friday.
The Department of Justice confirmed on Monday that Chang would be extradited to Mozambique to stand trial.
"As the facts stand now, the accused is not immune from prosecution and has been duly indicted by the Mozambican government. The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services therefore confirms that a decision has been taken to extradite the accused to Mozambique," spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said in a statement.
Chang was arrested in December 2018 at OR Tambo International where he was bound for Dubai. He has been in custody since his arrest.
He is wanted in Mozambique on charges of fraud and corruption for allegedly receiving millions of dollars in bribes to sign off on about US$2.2 billion in loans from Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse and the Russian VTB bank to Mozambican government agencies to buy fishing trawlers and military patrol vessels in 2013 and 2014.
He is charged alongside 19 other people including Armando Ndambi Guebuza, the son of former Mozambican president Armando Guebuza.
The biggest financial scandal trial, called "hidden debts", started on Monday. It is being held in a giant tent at Machava high-security prison in the capital city of Maputo.
- African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher