Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu has challenged a Canadian non-governmental organisation to prove that he splashed $20 million on properties in recent years using money obtained from Marange diamonds.
Report by Nqobile Bhebhe
Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) on Monday released a report claiming that looting at the Marange diamond fields had worsened, with Mpofu and military chiefs being the chief culprits.
PAC said the Umguza MP and Zanu PF politburo member had spent $500 000 on philantrophic activities.
But Mpofu told NewsDay yesterday that the report was “malicious” and amateurish.
“That report by PAC is just unprofessionally done, not well thought out, full of malice and was done by amateurs,” he said.
“They say I have personally spent thousands of dollars this year. They should prove it and not just say things they are not sure of.
They also say I own Cold Storage Farm, but the position is I am just leasing the place. Records are available to prove it”.
The report titled “Reap what you sow; greed and corruption in Zimbabwe’s Marange Diamonds Fields” questioned Mpofu’s “unexplained wealth.”
“Several months of investigation by Partnership Africa Canada have identified expenditures of over $20 million — mostly in cash — made by minister Mpofu over the last three years,” reads part of the report.
“This figure is a conservative assessment and does not include his philanthropy, which exceeded $500 000 in 2012 alone. While Zimbabwe’s finances suffer, the same cannot be said for bank ledgers of Zanu PF insiders, including the minister.”
“By most accounts, minister Mpofu is a very rich man.He is variously described as owning ‘half of Matabeleland’, Zimbabwe’s largest cattle herd and a patronage network unparalleled by any of his political peers.”
“His ego is equally large — Mpofu is known to refer to himself as the ‘King of Matabeleland’.”
The report estimated that Mpofu had splashed $2 million on cattle and has close to 4 000 head of cattle.
However, Mpofu said the group had “a habit of releasing reports to coincide with major diamond conferences.
“They did the same when we went to Washington and Israel,” he said.
On claims that a diamond trading company, Three Waters Investments, operates from one of his properties in Bulawayo, the minister said he had never heard of such a company.
PAC said Mpofu and his legal advisor Farai Mutamangira were twice given an opportunity to reply, but “they chose not to respond”.