via $2bn diamond fraud saga: Mpofu fails to testify July 24, 2014
TRANSPORT minister Obert Mpofu yesterday failed to testify in the ongoing $2 million potential prejudice fraud trial of Core Mining and Mineral Resources director, Lovemore Kurotwi, after the defence counsel raised objections, arguing that the minister could not give evidence before evidence of the inspection in loco conducted in South Africa last month was placed on record.
High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu conceded to defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa’s request and ordered Mpofu to leave the witness stand as he deferred the matter to next Monday.
Kurotwi and his co-accused, former Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) chief executive Dominic Mubaiwa, are being accused of causing the State to lose $2 million in potential revenue after their jointly owned diamond mining firm Canadile Miners allegedly failed to meet the set production target.
Mpofu had been summoned to testify in the matter as former Mines minister.
The court tasked the State’s representative Chris Mutangadura to call Tichaona Muhonde and Gloria Mawarire to appear in court next week in order to facilitate completion of the inspection in loco proceedings.
It is the State’s allegation that sometime in 2009, Kurotwi and Mubaiwa acted in cahoots and submitted a favourable due diligent report to Mpofu recommending that ZMDC should proceed to enter into a joint venture to mine diamonds with Core Mining.
As a result, Core Mining and Marange Resources formed Canadile Miners which was granted mining rights in Marange area where they mined diamonds, but allegedly failed to meet the agreed diamond mining target prompting the government to lose anticipated revenue in the sum of $2 billion.
Kurotwi and Mubaiwa have since pleaded not guilty to the matter, arguing that all their transactions in the alleged potential fraud were done above board with the blessings of the government.