Kurotwi case fails to resume

HARARE - The trial of Core Mining director Lovemore Kurotwi and his co-accused, ex-Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) manager, Dominic Mubaiwa, failed to resume at the High Court yesterday due to unavailability of the presiding judge.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu could not attend the trial as he was said to be engaged “somewhere” forcing the matter to be postponed to next week.

Kurotwi and Mubaiwa are in court facing charges of fraud amounting to $2 billion after a failed investment by South African firm — Benn Steinmeitz Group Resources (BSGR) into Core Mining’s Marange diamond fields venture.

The state claims Kurotwi and Mubaiwa misrepresented facts regarding the investment deal by BSGR, resulting in a $2 billion financial prejudice to government.

The case will now be heard next week on condition both parties are available.

Last week, the matter was postponed to allow the state to go to South Africa and prepare for an inspection in loco.

Chris Mutangadura, the chief law officer in the Attorney General’s office handling some of the modalities for the inspection in loco, was yesterday absent in court and was represented by his assistant, Public Mpofu.

Indications from the state are that the request for an inspection in loco to the South African government had hit a brick wall forcing the trial to continue in the local court.

Beatrice Mtetwa, the defence lawyer alongside Lewis Uriri, objected to the South African trip with Uriri describing it as a “holiday in South Africa”.

He however, withdrew his statement.

So far the state has called more than seven witnesses who have given conflicting statements regarding the joint venture which was formed by Core Mining and government represented by ZMDC.

Among the witnesses who have testified are Godwills Masimirembwa, the ZMDC chairperson and Tichaona Muhonde, the ZMDC legal secretary.

Kurotwi, in his defence, says the allegations are fabricated by Mines minister Obert Mpofu after exposing him to President Robert Mugabe as having demanded a $10 million bribe.

Mpofu has not yet been called to respond to these claims. - Xolisani Ncube

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