Mpofu Quizzed On Source Of Wealth

The cross examination of Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Dr Obert Mpofu resumed at the High Court with the major highlights being the exchanges between the minister and defence lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, leading to the former to explain his wealth.

Mtetwa asked Minister Mpofu to reveal his source of wealth, as he had during his evidence in chief told the court that he was very wealthy and could not take a bribe from Lovemore Kurotwi who is accused of potentially defrauding the state of US$2 billion in a diamond mining investment deal.

Mpofu initially said he could not respond to a sarcastic question before being reminded how he had invited his character evidence by labelling the accused persons as fraudsters before the court had pronounced its findings in the trial.

He narrated his employment history and said his business empire had been initiated by a golden handshake which he received through the Sandura Commission, which happened when he was a Senior Managing Director at Treggers in the late 1980s.

Minister Mpofu said he ran Adventure Forex Bureau, which he sold to CFX in the 1990s before he procured buildings in Harare and Bulawayo. 

He added that is one of the largest cattle ranchers in the country with a head of 4 000 cattle but could not divulge off head his net worth.

Mtetwa accused the Minister of instructing the mining firms to pay astronomic legal fees to the private law firm for services that were supposed to have been carried out by the Attorney General’s Civil Division. 

Dr Mpofu told Ms Mtetwa not to be ignorant as even her law firm has been seconded to assist his current ministry through the Attorney General’s office.

Mtetwa further asked why the legal fees did not specify the services rendered and why there was no value-added tax indicated.  

The Minister however said his written instructions to Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) were very clear and he was surprised at why Ms Mtetwa wanted to speak of other law firms deviating from the issues at hand.

Mtetwa asked what had happened to the US$3 million of the dividend due to Kurotwi which had been withheld due to his instructions.

She also asked what had happened to the US$10 million in the company bank account at the time Kurotwi was arrested, and US$140 million worth of diamond carats mentioned in the Grant Thornton audit instituted by ZMDC.

Minister Mpofu however said ZMDC is the rightful company to answer as they are instituting the audit.