Kurotwi saga: Witnesses fail to locate rendezvous

KIMBERLEY - Four witnesses in the trial of Core Mining and Minerals (Private) Limited (Core Mining) director Lovemore Kurotwi, accused of defrauding the government of $2 billion, have failed to identify the place that they visited for an inspection-in-loco here.

Kurotwi was arrested together with Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC)’s ex-boss Dominic Mubaiwa.

Four State witnesses, Gloria Mawarire, Mark Tsomondo, Ashton Ndlovu and Tichaona Muhonde, failed to locate the exact location they had visited, were mining operations were being conducted, during a due diligence exercise carried out five years ago.

Charges against Kurotwi and Mubaiwa arose after a failed investment by South African diamond firm, Benn Steinmeitz Group Resources (BSGR) into the diamond mining in Marange fields.

Kurotwi is accused of misrepresenting to the ministry of Mines and ZMDC that Core Mining was a special purpose vehicle of BSGR, which was supposed to be the guarantor in a joint venture agreement between the parties.

ZMDC, which owns Marange Resources and Kurotwi’s Core Mining, went into a joint venture deal to extract diamonds in Marange, forming the now defunct Canadile Miners.

The court heard parties later travelled to South Africa for a due diligence exercise, after Mubaiwa allegedly prepared an unapproved and uncirculated Memorandum of Agreement between Marange Resources (Private) Limited signed in July 2009, without acquiring Cabinet authority.

This prompted Chris Mutangadura, the chief law officer, during trial to apply for an inspection-in-loco here, which was finally held on Monday.

The place, which is to the south of the Vaal River, is now a game park, bushy, but shows signs that mining operations once took place in the area at some point.

All the witnesses simply confirmed that it was the general area, which they visited.

Muhonde said it was almost five years since they visited the place and could not positively identify it, while Mawarire said when she visited the place, she was being led.

During the inspection-in-loco, the delegation failed to identify by name, the place that was visited, leaving High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu unclear on how to record it.

The witnesses, however, confirmed visiting offices at Pikwane Diamonds, situated at number 88 Dutoitspan Road in Kimberley, where they held a meeting.

Mutangadura attempted to lead evidence from the owner of the premises, Trevor Pikwane, leading to Kurotwi’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa and Mubaiwa’s attorney Lewis Uriri, raising objections.

The lawyers said there were no disputes pertaining to the fact that a meeting was held in Kimberley, but what was in dispute was transpired at the meeting.

Mtetwa and Uriri said Pikwane’s evidence was inadmissible and that he was supposed to be subpoenaed to give evidence before a High Court judge in Zimbabwe, and later be cross-examined.

Mtangadura said he was considering calling the witness, despite issues raised by Mtetwa that he had promised to close the State’s case after conducting of the inspection-in-loco.

Bhunu said the State was dominus litis and had the right to call further witnesses, if it still felt that it wanted more evidence.

Proceedings were facilitated by Kimberley chief magistrate Om Krieleng. The inspection-in-loco, which was initially reserved for Monday and yesterday, was completed on Monday.

Comments (1)

The so-called state witnesses are a bunch of liars who took the opportunity to go to South Africa on a free holiday. What a shameless lot!

State Witness - 14 May 2014

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