By Joseph Hanlon
Officials in Mozambique who violated the law in contracting the secret debts may be sued, Deputy Attorney-General Angelo Matusse told journalists. (Lusa 10 July). The Budget Monitoring Forum (FMO) has gone to court in South Africa to try to stop Manuel Chang’s return to Mozambique. The Attorney General finishes her term. And many of those charged remain in jail.
Since the contracts “have been deemed illegal, prosecutors may take the view that there are grounds for lodging a civil action” to require the return of the amounts in question, Matusse told journalists following the opening session of an official gathering of magistrates in Maputo. “It was agents of the state who concluded these contracts”, and officials who signed the contracts without notifying parliament and the country’s international partners are accountable.
In January 19 people were named as accused, with some names are repeated in different lists. The full list is in the attached pdf. (Zitamar 10 January 2019):
Meanwhile Mozambican civil society coalition FMO launched an attempt to block Manuel Chang’s extradition to Mozambique, calling on the South African High Court to rule the decision made by the previous Minister of Justice Michael Masutha unconstitutional and invalid. The decision by the Minister was never formally published, according to FMO. It also argues that the magistrate’s decision to put the Mozambican extradition request on an equal footing as the US request is unlawful, as it had not been properly examined by the court. The final day for an appeal was 9 July and the US did not appeal to the courts, instead opting for a diplomatic initiative to ask the new Justice Minister Ronald Ozzy Lamola to re consider. But the FMO petition means that Chang remains in jail in South Africa. (Carta de Mocambique 10 July) The full text, in English, is on http://bit.ly/FMO-SA-court
Chang remains a member of parliament and thus has immunity and would not be arrested if he returned to Mozambique. But he is not on the new candidates list for the 15 October election, so could be arrested after the new parliament begins sitting in January.
Attorney General Beatriz Buchili’s five-year term ended on 9 July, but she will continue as the caretaker head of the public prosecutor’s office until President Nyusi appoints someone else or reappoints her for a second term. Although appointed by Guebuza and very cautious about offending those in power, Buchuli has in he past year moved against the Guebuza faction of Frelimo and detained people previously considered untouchable, including the son of former President Guebuza, Ndambi Guebuza. But she has also pushed to have Chang returned to Mozambique and not sent to the US. (Carta de Mocambique 10 July)