Minister Mpofu refutes $10m bribery claim

HARARE - Obert Mpofu, the Transport minister, has denied claims that he demanded a $10 million bribe to facilitate a joint venture agreement between the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Lovemore Kurotwi’s Core Mining and Minerals (Private) Limited.

The former Mines minister yesterday testified in Kurotwi’s trial, in which the Core boss is facing a $2 billion fraud charge.
Kurotwi is jointly charged with ZMDC’s ex-boss Dominic Mubaiwa.

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

The State claims it lost $2 billion in potential earnings from the alleged misrepresentation.

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.

In his defence, Kurotwi claimed 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.

However, after being asked yesterday by Chris Mutangadura, the chief law officer, to comment on Kurotwi’s allegations, Mpofu refuted the claims.

“He never said that to His Excellency because if he said that, I wouldn’t be standing here,” Mpofu said. “It was just drama meant for the consumption of the media.”

He said the allegations were choreographed, insisting he did not demand the said amount. Mpofu told the court that he has been a businessman for a long time. He said he could employ Kurotwi and Mubaiwa.

“I am a minister, I don’t lie. I have nothing against them,” Mpofu said.

Kurotwi told the court that Mpofu had demanded the money claiming he had played his part - seeing the deal through and was expecting his payment.

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

The court procedure was taken to South Africa for an inspection-in-loco recently.

In his evidence, Mpofu claimed facts were misrepresented on the exercise of identifying an investor, adding that some of the clauses had been changed. He said the process had been compromised.

Mpofu told the court that he came to know of the misrepresentation after hearing stories from security forces and reports of directors who had been arrested for dealing in diamonds.

Mpofu said he summoned Mubaiwa, who reportedly expressed his displeasure at the manner the joint venture was being handled.
Mpofu said as part of a Cabinet committee set up to deal with the Marange issue, they directed that the Zimbabwe Investment Authority investigate what was going on at Canadile Miners.

Mutangadura asked Mpofu to comment on claims that Core Mining was his project.

He refuted the claims as well.

Mpofu came in as the last State witness in a case that has been rumbling on for years. The case continues today, when Mpofu will be cross-examined by Beatrice Mtetwa and Lewis Uriri, who are representing Kurotwi and Mubaiwa respectively.

The matter was later deferred after High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu said he needed time to go through submissions filed by the parties following an objection raised by Mtetwa over the production of a document reportedly written by Mubaiwa, detailing what transpired.

Mutangadura claimed the document was an affidavit, written by Mubaiwa. However, Uriri denied that it was an affidavit, but did not object to its production in court.

Mtetwa said she was opposed to the production of the said document, claiming it was inadmissible.

Comments (6)

This Mpofu is silly who says a minister cannot lie when they lie everyday? He is rich how? Did he work for it or these were some of the ways he got rich, how many won tenders through bribing him. Imagine if I am bribed 5 million dollars today I will be a Ministry in ZanuPf government, yes there is a ministry with budget equivalent to the bribes these guys get.

Maita Manyuka - 29 July 2014

Chabvondoka. Many more expose' coming. Watch the space

Mugaradziko Star - 30 July 2014

Mbavha idzi. saka minister ndiye asinganyepi????? Your wealth yawakanota kumadiamonds uko iyo. now u want to increase toll fees for your own personal gain cause waona kuti shoma iripo haibiki. Mbwa yemunhu Mpofu!!! wHY INCREASING TOLL FEES YET MASVINGO ROAD IS KILLING OUR RELATIVES. THE ROADS WHICH ARE CURRENTLY BEING WORKED ON HAANA BASA RESE. MASVINGO BRINGS THE MUCH NEEDED REVENUE AS IT CONNECTS BOTH BIG BORDERS.

Takaz - 30 July 2014

PUMP EXPERTS WATER DEVELOPERS 773528045 715415931

five star - 30 July 2014

Obert Dumbuguru and Chombo. Most corrupt Ministers.

selele - 30 July 2014

Hail the Obedient Son. We hope your father will come to your rescue. Kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!!!!

Mupfanhami Obiza - 31 July 2014

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