HOME Affairs minister Obert Mpofu is expected to appear at the Bulawayo High Court on May 31 to defend himself in a matter where he stands accused of grabbing borehole drilling equipment belonging to Umguza Community Share Ownership Scheme.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
The equipment, valued at around $600 000, was supposed to benefit community members in the drought-stricken area.
The matter was partly heard before Justice Martin Makonese on Monday before being postponed to May 31 to enable Mpofu’s lawyers, Sengweni Legal Practice, to file opposing papers.
“The judge postponed the matter to 31 May, 2018. This would enable the lawyers representing the minister (Mpofu) to file their papers in the matter. The defence lawyers argue that they had not been properly served with the papers hence they could not prepare a proper defence,” Umguza Community Share Ownership Scheme lawyer, Dumisani Dube of Mathonsi, Ncube Law Chambers said.
The community has cited Mpofu, Zanu PF Matabeleland North provincial chairman, Richard Moyo and more than 10 Zanu PF supporters, as respondents.
“A few weeks ago, a group of thugs numbering 20 attempted to stop operations of the applicant. They advised that they were under the instruction of the first respondent (Mpofu) and the second respondent (Richard Moyo).
“They were chanting revolutionary songs and were visibly drunk and they were violent towards the applicant’s staff at the Umguza Rural District Council Reigate Depot,” the affidavit filed by the scheme’s chairperson, Felix Nhlanhlayemangwe Ndiweni, read.
“The respondents, together in concert, also took a PVC casing valued at $4 150,12 drilling rods valued at $18 000, a drum of compressor oil valued at $1 000, a spare wheel valued at $450, five hydraulic pumps valued at $300, one borehole pump valued at $2 200 and the Toyota Hilux valued at $33 600. This was violently [done] after a meeting of the respondents at York House in Bulawayo had ad hocly resolved to do so.”
The Zanu PF officials allegedly took possession of a drilling rig worth $500 000 on top of the assortment of consumables to the rig.