Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu’s alleged personal wealth came under the spotlight during a conference at the University of Witwaterand in South Africa to discuss resource governance of Marange diamonds.
The matter was raised by foreign-based Zimbabwean journalist Basildon Peta, who asked:
“As the issue of Zimbabwe diamond proceeds becomes topical, we need to know how Minister Mpofu, who allegedly owns half of Victoria Falls town and many buildings in Bulawayo which include the tallest building in that town, managed to acquire such wealth.
“What we know is that Mpofu earns US$250 per month and I am not saying that blacks cannot be obscenely rich, but I am keen to know how he managed to amass so much wealth on such a small salary.”
Supa Mandiwanzira, the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) president, responded: “I have no brief from the minister or government to comment on his businesses and alleged wealth.
“However, I can only assume that he grew his businesses on the back of the farm that he got under the successful land reform programme and also from his humble beginnings in business.
“If by asking your question you are trying to accuse the minister of corruption, then you must produce irrefutable evidence even to us in the AAG, because one of our mandates is to expose those who are corrupt and giving our economic revolution and our President a bad name,” said
Mandiwanzira. Mpofu says the source of his wealth is legitimate and he has not in any way abused his office to acquire it.
He said he purchased the houses in question after securing a US$1 million loan from CBZ Bank while the other funds came from his safari business.
Mpofu is generally perceived as one of President Robert Mugabe’s top confidantes.
The conference, organised jointly by the Centre for Research Development, Heinrich Boell Stiftung and the South Africa Institute of International Affairs, was reviewing progress in the Marange diamond fields.