Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu took time at his birthday celebration at the weekend to explain how he obtained his vast wealth, dismissing reports that he had looted the country’s diamond reserves in Chiadzwa.
Addressing about 10 000 guests who attended his 60th birthday and graduation ceremony in Nyamandlovu on Saturday, Mpofu said:
“For starters let me explain this. It was back in the 1990s that the young man Tyson (Saviour Kasukuwere) who was by then working in Mutare before I even became prominent as I am now, gave me a list of buildings which Old Mutual was disposing in Bulawayo.
“He told me to choose the ones I wanted. That’s when I bought the building which is now touted as the tallest building in Bulawayo, York House, and other properties which I needed. I bought these things on credit and not what people are saying,” he said.
“If you want to get rich get loans. I know people of this region would say it is ‘better I die poor than to get a loan’. No, that is not it. Loans are the way to go if you want to become rich. Get it from me,” said Mpofu.
Last year a diamond watchdog Africa Partnership Canada (APC) questioned how the Umguza legislator acquired an impressive portfolio of properties from the meagre salary he earns as a government minister.
They accused him of being one of the bigwigs who were allegedly benefitting from the leakage of gems from the controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange.
Mpofu dismissed the allegations as untrue.