Mpofu Grilled About US$600k Legal Fees

Harare, August 4,2014-The Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, who is former Mines and Mining Development minister, Obert Mpofu, has come under fire for allegedly instructing ZMDC and two other mining companies to pay US$600 000 for unclear legal fees.

Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, who was cross examining Minister Mpofu, accused him of falsely labeling her client, Lovemore Kurotwi and his co- accused Dominic Mubaiwa fraudsters, tricksters and organised criminals before their trial has come to a conclusion.

She said the minister had opened the legal shield granted to witnesses which protects them from self incrimination, hence he was compelled to comment on a letter in which he instructed Canadile, ZMDC and Marange Resources to pay US$600 thousand for unclear legal fees.

Minister Mpofu said he was unable to comment on issues handled by the Attorney-General’s Office, the contracting party for all legal matters.

Chris Mutangadura from the Prosecutor-General’s Office applied for the court to stop  Mtetwa from her line of questioning saying the letter was a communication protected under the legal privilege clause granted by the law to protect communications between lawyers and their clients.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu reserved his ruling on the application after  Mtetwa strongly objected to it saying the payment of public funds amounting to US$600 thousand in respect of non-rendered service is of national interest and the minister must be brought to account.

Earlier, Justice Bhunu had reigned in the minister telling him to refrain from being sarcastic to  Mtetwa and confine himself to answering questions asked.

The matter will now resume on the 27th of August when the court will rule on application by the State.