Manuel Chang Must Now Be Extradited to the USA

Former Mozambican Finance Minister and Member of Parliament, Manuel Chang must now be extradited to and prosecuted in the USA for allegedly defrauding the Mozambican people of some $2bn in development loans extended by American investors.

This follows a decision by the South African Constitutional Court yesterday, which dismissed an appeal by the Mozambican government against a 2021 High Court judgment that held unlawful South Africa’s decision to extradite Mr Chang to Mozambique after arresting him in Johannesburg in December 2018.

The Constitutional Court’s decision marks the end of long‑running litigation, led by Forum De Monitoria Do Orçamento, on behalf of Mozambican civil society, that challenged successive decisions by South Africa to extradite Mr Chang to Mozambique, despite his prior political office rendering him immune from prosecution there. The Helen Suzman Foundation sought to act in solidarity with those efforts, intervening as a friend of the court to ensure that regional corrupt actors don’t escape accountability and that South African officials aren’t complicit in helping them do so.

While yesterday’s judgment represents a significant moment in civil society’s efforts to combat corruption in Southern Africa, sight cannot be lost of the Mozambicans who Mr Chang is alleged to have robbed – their loss, measured in opportunities missed at the hands of corrupt government, will go uncompensated whatever his fate.

Their untold stories serve as reminder that the cost of corruption is borne most profoundly by those most vulnerable and that civil society’s efforts to hold corrupt actors to account should never rest.