After an extended period of nearly five years, Manuel Chang, the former finance minister of Mozambique, has been extradited to the United States. Charged with fraud and corruption, Chang’s trial revolves around a $2 billion scandal involving fraudulent government loans. This high-profile case has captivated international attention.
Manuel Chang, who had been held in South Africa, was finally handed over to US authorities following the dismissal of his last-minute legal attempts to avoid extradition in May. The extradition process has now reached its culmination, enabling the United States to proceed with the legal proceedings against him.
Chang stands accused of accepting bribes amounting to as much as $17 million as part of a scheme that facilitated fraudulent loans for Mozambican state-owned companies from foreign banks and financiers, ostensibly for maritime projects. According to US prosecutors, the illicit funds were siphoned off through kickbacks and other corrupt practices.
The loans, totaling $2 billion, were intended to support the acquisition of fishing vessels, naval patrol boats, and other resources aimed at bolstering Mozambique’s fishing industry. However, it is alleged that these investments never materialized, casting a shadow over the entire scandal.
The revelation of the “hidden debts” associated with the scandal in 2016 had severe consequences for Mozambique’s financial stability. The International Monetary Fund subsequently withdrew its support for the country, exacerbating the economic crisis.