(Johannesburg)Zimbabwe’s Minister in charge of mines and minerals, Obert Mpofu owns half of Victoria Falls property area, it was debated during a University of Witwatersrand resource governance of Marange diamonds conference in South Africa.
Affirmative Action Group (AAG) president Supa Mandiwanzira was quizzed by Zim born journalist Basildon Peta on the source of Mpofu’s said vast wealth. Said Peta:
“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”, asked Peta.
Obert Mpofu is blamed for widespread smuggling of diamonds from the Marange fields following a statement in which he admitted that it would be difficult to stop smuggling of the gem, a statement in which Mpofu has been viewed as participatory to the crime. “The leakages cannot be stopped, however we will endeavor to curb such activities. Look even in the developed world like America with all those sophisticated equipment but they have failed to curb drug trafficking,” Mpofu said this at the first auction of the Marange diamonds last year.
Feeling the heat of the inquiry, Mandiwanzira then responded claiming that Mpofu made his wealth on the back of a farm: “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.”
Mandiwanzira did not deny Mpofu’s vast wealth but charged at Peta requesting proof of the alleged corruption.
“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.”
Further defending Mpofu, Mandiwanzira said Mpofu purchased the properties under discussion after securing a US$1 million loan from CBZ Bank while the other funds were said to have come from his safari business.
The conference, held at the University of Witwatersrand and 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. (ZimEye)