Minister to testify in $2bn fraud case

HARARE - Former Mines minister Obert Mpofu is today expected to testify in the ongoing trial of Core Mining and Minerals (Private) Limited director Lovemore Kurotwi, accused of defrauding the government of $2 billion.

The matter was postponed two weeks ago to allow chief law officer Chris Mutangadura time to make arrangements for Mpofu’s testimony.

Kurotwi, who is represented by Beatrice Mtetwa, was arrested together with Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC)’s ex-boss Dominic Mubaiwa, who is represented by Lewis Uriri.

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.

Kurotwi, however, claims that the fraud charges he is facing today came about when he told President Robert Mugabe that Mpofu had demanded a $10 million bribe as a “thank you” for facilitating a joint venture agreement between government and his company.

The State claims that the misrepresentation of facts took place when due-diligence exercise was conducted on a company that did not belong to Core.

This, according to the State, led to the signing of a joint venture agreement between ZMDC and Core.

The joint venture agreement signed by the two partners resulted in the formation of a diamond mining company called Canadile, which exploited Marange diamonds.

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

The court has since travelled to South Africa for an inspection-in-loco.

The visit took court officials to the place where mining operations were being conducted during the due diligence exercise carried out five years ago.

Comments (4)

munozvinetsereiko ? munofunga mungandidii ? inindiri shiri inemaririre kwawo,emari....kwipipi mpofu..pwipipi mpofu,tsvagaiwo yenyu mari,hamunakunwara chete ndozvinokunetsayi mabhoyi

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