Mozambique's former finance minister Manuel Chang appears in court during an extradition hearing in Johannesburg, South Africa, January 8, 2019. Picture: REUTERS/SHAFIEK TASSIEM
Mozambique's former finance minister Manuel Chang appears in court during an extradition hearing in Johannesburg, South Africa, January 8, 2019. Picture: REUTERS/SHAFIEK TASSIEM

Former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang, arrested in SA in connection with $2bn in fraudulent loans, submitted an urgent bail application last week, one of his lawyers said on Monday.

Chang, who had denied wrongdoing, has been in custody since December 29 and previously dropped his bail application amid competing extradition requests from both the US and Mozambique.

He is wanted in both countries in relation to loans guaranteed by the Mozambican government, which it failed to disclose, signed off by Chang during his 2005-2015 term as finance minister.

The lawyer, Stiaan Krause, told Reuters that Chang’s defence team had argued he should be granted bail because he is unlikely to be extradited, and is therefore not a flight risk.

“We have no reason to flee,” he said, adding the team was not concerned by the US request for extradition.

The state prosecutor for the case is not allowed to talk to the media, and the relevant spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority could not immediately be reached for comment.

The urgent bail application is being heard separately to an ongoing case in a Johannesburg court, which is considering how to deal with the competing requests from both the US and Mozambique.

Krause said a decision on bail is not expected until February 15.

Reuters