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Nyarota cries foul


VETERAN journalist Geoff Nyarota is crying foul over revelations that former Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu was handsomely rewarded by government to start life-changing enterprises after playing the role of whistleblower in the infamous 1988 Willowgate Scandal.


Nyarota unearthed the 1988 scandal where senior government officials among them Cabinet ministers were given preference in buying vehicles at Willowvale Motor Industries at discounted prices and reselling them at inflated prices.

The veteran journalist, however, was left to lick his wounds in self-imposed exile in Mozambique after he was relieved of his job as Editor of The Chronicle for telling the truth that embarrassed the establishment.

But Mpofu, who is now Minister of Transport, while testifying as a witness in the ongoing High Court fraud trial of Core Mining and Mineral Resources director Lovemore Kurotwi, disclosed that one of the sources of his immense wealth was a reward that he received from the government for his role as a whistleblower in the Willowgate Scandal.

Nyarota said it was indeed true that Mpofu, then managing director of the Zimbabwe Grain Bag Company in Bulawayo, was the whistleblower who furnished him with the information that led to the Willowgate Scandal exposé.

He said Mpofu’s role as whistleblower has been widely publicised, including by himself.

“But it is only now that Mpofu has come out in the open to reveal that he was, in fact, paid for that role,” Nyarota said.

“What this means is that while I was punished for investigating and publishing details of the Willowgate Scandal, Mpofu was lavishly rewarded by government through a golden handshake and he ‘started acquiring properties since then’ and has never looked back.”

Nyarota said he was fired from his position as Editor of The Chronicle and had since then endured suffering, humiliation and deprivation, being ultimately forced to go and live in exile in Maputo, Mozambique, for three years.

“If there is fairness and justice in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Newspapers (Pvt) Ltd must restore my job as Editor of The Chronicle back to me, now that they know that the Willowgate Scandal was a commendable and patriotic exercise for which Mr Mpofu was nicely rewarded,” he said.

“Given the passage of time, the company could offer me a more senior position or some form of compensation so that Mr Mpofu and I are not treated differently for our complementary roles or complicity in exposing incipient corruption in our political fabric.”

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