Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Maputo — Mozambique’s former finance minister Manuel Chang, who has been arrested on charges related to a $2bn debt deal that led to a default in 2017, will oppose extradition to the US, says his lawyer.

Mozambique borrowed about $2bn from 2013 to 2014 to buy tuna-fishing boats and a coastline protection system, but only disclosed the bulk of the debt to the IMF in 2016, prompting the lender to halt funding. Chang, who was arrested on December 29 in SA, presided over the debt deal at the time.

Chang has received an indictment from the US department of justice detailing charges linked to three loans to Mozambican state companies, lawyer Rudi Krause said. Chang will apply for bail at a January 8 hearing in a Johannesburg court, he said.

“The allegations relate to those three loans,” Krause said, referring to debts taken on by Ematum, ProIndicus and Mozambique Asset Management. “He will oppose the application for his extradition.”

Auditors in 2017 found that $500m of spending remained unexplained, while also suggesting the assets purchased with the money were overpriced by about $700m.