Kurotwi petitions Mugabe over seized equipment

HARARE - Core Mining and Minerals (Private) Limited director Lovemore Kurotwi has petitioned President Robert Mugabe in a bid to recover his seized mining equipment.

The equipment — which is worth millions of dollars — was taken by the government after a botched mining venture, which culminated in Kurotwi being accused of prejudicing the government of $2 billion.

Zimbabwe police in 2010 arrested six directors linked to the joint venture firm mining diamonds in Marange on allegations of fraudulently acquiring the concession.

The arrested executives include five officials from the State-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Kurotwi, who was a Zimbabwean representative of its South African partner, Core Mining and Minerals, in the 50-50 diamond mining joint venture, Canadile Miners which later became defunct.

Earlier efforts by Kurotwi to recover the equipment were stalled by the trial that dragged for years.

Kurotwi was eventually acquitted in May last year, prompting him to demand his equipment back.

In a letter to Mines minister Walter Chidakwa and copied to Mugabe, Kurotwi accused the minister’s predecessor Obert Mpofu of confiscating diamonds worth millions of dollars.

“ . . . Mpofu confiscated 1,4 million carats of diamonds worth $140 million, $10 million and all mining equipment. The mining equipment is currently being used by Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company to our prejudice as the equipment is being worn out due to continued use by an entity which has no legal ownership of the equipment.

“I strongly believe that your office should intervene as a matter of extreme urgency because I do not deserve to continue suffering in my country whilst my money and mining equipment was wrongly and unlawfully seized.

“This is against the principles of indigenisation as I am being disempowered in my own country,” Kurotwi said.

His appeal was actuated by Mugabe’s birthday speech where he encouraged citizens to expose corruption among senior officials.

“The events which led to my disempowerment point to a clear case of corruption by your predecessor and in light of His Excellency’s speech on his 93rd birthday, encouraging citizens to expose corrupt activities, I believe this matter should be investigated further by responsible authorities.

“I also suspect that part of the money which was confiscated by . . . Mpofu was externalised.

“Mpofu is on record for bragging about being the richest person in Zimbabwe yet ironically his so-called riches are ill-gotten as it is my hard-earned wealth which he illegally confiscated. That cannot be tenable.

“I would appreciate your response to my concerns as I believe we have a government which does not turn a blind eye when there is injustice,” he said.

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