How I became rich: Mpofu

Dr Mpofu

Dr Mpofu

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
FORMER Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu yesterday revealed for the first time how he acquired some of his much-talked-about wealth, but said the wealth acquisition was aboveboard as it emanated from a golden handshake he got from Tregers.
Minister Mpofu, who is now the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, was the managing director at the Zanu-PF-owned Tregers company in the 1980s.
Dismissing allegations that he asked for a $10 million bribe from Core Mining director Lovemore Kurotwi at the High Court yesterday, Minister Mpofu said he started acquiring properties as far back as 1989 after resigning from Tregers.

Asked how many properties he owned in Bulawayo, he mentioned his first acquisition as the popular Yolk House.
He said he owned another building along Main Street in Bulawayo and several other properties he acquired through “some other companies”.

Minister Mpofu said he owned number 25061 Greystone Park in Harare, 644 Borrowdale Brooke and many other properties in the city.
In Victoria Falls, Minister Mpofu said he owned a warehouse and several houses that accommodate his workers.

He told the court that he was one of the biggest cattle ranchers in Zimbabwe, with a herd of at least 4 000.
“I am one of the biggest ranchers with 4 000 head of cattle,” he said. “I am also leasing CSC (Cold Storage Commission) farms.”

Minister Mpofu refused to give a cumulative value of his properties in Zimbabwe, which has been a subject of speculation for a long time.
He told the court that he was a successful businessman and that the allegations that he solicited for a bribe from Kurotwi were ridiculous and unbelievable as he was in a position to employ him and his co-accused, Dominic Mubaiwa.

Kurotwi and Mubaiwa are being tried for allegedly defrauding the Government of $2 billion in a diamond mining joint venture.
Minister Mpofu, the State’s last witness in the trial, told the court he was even offered shares in Tregers before he ventured in a property acquisition spree through Bureau de Change businesses.

“I worked in Government for a few years until 1985 when I joined Tregers as a managing director.
“Tregers was a big company and I was offered shares in the firm.

“In 1989, when I left Tregers, I was given a golden handshake, which I used to acquire properties and have never looked back.
“We acquired several properties in the name of a company called Treble and Kays,” he said.

The court heard that the minister became a councillor for Umguza in the late 1980s before being appointed a non-constituency Member of Parliament.
Kurotwi’s lawyer Mrs Beatrice Mtetwa told the court that when Canadile Miners was dissolved, some $140 million worth of diamond stocks went missing together with $10 million cash that was in the company’s bank account.

When Kurotwi and the other shareholders in Core Mining were kicked out, Mrs Mtetwa said some dividend meant for them to the tune of $3,4 million was withheld at the instruction of the then Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation chairman Mr Godwills Masimirembwa.

Asked to comment on the whereabouts of the missing diamond stocks and the cash, Minister Mpofu said he had nothing to do with that and that he was not aware of how they disappeared.

“That is nonsense,” he said. “It is not a minister’s business and I do not know anything about that.”
Justice Chinembiri Bhunu then intervened and reprimanded Minister Mpofu for using unacceptable language in court.

“Minister, you do not use such language in court,” he warned him.
The trial continues today with Minister Mpofu being cross-examined by Mubaiwa’s lawyer Mr Unity Sakhe.

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  • Kusvikazvanaka

    This man should be exemplary as a minister. Using words like “NONSENSE” in court is a punishable offense . Everyone knows he is ONE of the BIGGEST thieves and all n’angas know him. he should be jailed for typical corruption.

    • Tuksedo

      Making a fuss over the word nonsense is, in itself, nonsense. If he believes the accusations to be nonsensical, he is free to express such a sentiment. He was neither showing contempt nor displaying disrespect towards either the court or the judge. He was responding to a question from examining counsel.

      • Tati

        You seem not to have good manors yourself. After your comment I want to believe that you are not a good parent at all. English can be so nice if spoken by those who know how to choose their words in such a manner that they convey their message accurately and yet without offensive to anyone.

        • Hurungudo

          I agree Tati. Usually when a person is asked and responds in an emotional manner (like using words deemed to be informal under certain circumstances) that person has something to hide. Its normal human behavior. Either one has an ego bigger than oneself or has something to hide. Mpofu is a man against the wall right now.

        • Tuksedo

          You’re semantic pedantic, fussing over nonsense will distract from the real issues. That is all.

    • b c

      It’s you who is being nonsensical. It is not a punishable offense to describe something as nonsense. You country’s constitution spells out clearly what is an offence and what is not. The Minister was merely reacting to allegations and accusations against him and was apparently refusing to cooperate which prompted the judge, rightly so, to remind him that he is is court and should respect the court.

      • John Chimindo

        The constitution does not spell out offences. There are other acts and the common law that do that.

  • haiwawo

    Who does he think he is fooling?

    • Disaster

      Spot on my friend. If he worked for Tregers for 4 years only how is it possible for him to have gotten such a huge golden handshake which enabled him to buy all those properties? His story does not add up and if we had rule of law in Zim then this man should be on trial for fraud and money laundering. Gold fish have no hiding place and the truth shall come out sooner or later.

  • wezanu

    So Mr Moyo, are you saying His Excellency, Commander In Chief of the Defence Forces, Cde Robert G. Mugabe was lying when he told us about your corruption scandal?

    Was that business?

    Why were you unceremoniously removed from your position as minister of mines?

    Do you think people are really that stupid?!

    Everyone in Bulawayo knew you owned York House and a number of properties.

    Everyone in Victoria Falls knew that you almost own that town.

    But there’s no golden handshake that amounts to the properties you own.

    Unfortunately, arrogance gets the better of you and boastfulness has caused confirmation of many things that those who didnt know brushed off as lies.

    What business, what handshake can amount to what you own?

    I knew you from back in the days in the Mhlahlandlela Government building.

  • ZVAZVIRI22

    Hang him high,the biggest fraud in the land!This is just absurd!!What a tragedy!!Nxaaaaa!

  • maita

    Buying York House with a golden handshake means he took everything from Treggers no wonders this company is in dire straits if it exists anymore.

  • Maqwayibana

    The biggest problem with this man is that he is extremely arrogant. most of the things he is saying have no material relevance at all to the issue at hand he is merely playing to the gallery

  • Ray Mbada

    It’s funny, from 1985 to 1989 is just very little a service and what do you refer to as a golden hand shake emanating from such a service? Vakomanaka…..go ahead but you are a shame to the nation. Remember all the people in this world are watching and reading this: that a person worked at Treggers in Zimbabwe for 4 years and received a golden hand-shake that nearly bought him the second capital city in that country! Zvakawoma hazvo.

  • Sandura1

    Mpofu is being victimised by our jealousy Northen tribesmen. He is just a rich Ndebele Zanu pf minister. Mpofu is a hard worker. Check his records. Its all tribal jealousy and its a cancer with the Zimbabwean Northeners.

    • Tawanda

      Sandura its not to do with tribalism, kana munhu ari mbavha imbavha chete, he has to pay for his sins if its true he stole the cash from the cookie jar.

  • Zwelibanzi Tshabangu

    I worked for Mpofu in the early 1990s and most of his money came from the Berau de Changes he was running. He was also running a shipping company doing customs clearance. In the 2000s he was one of the few people (well connected people) who had access to foreign currency and made a killing as they generated millions in the black market.Of course I was no longer working for his companies after I had gone to the diaspora. So yes he may have been involved in corruption here and there but the guy had already set himself in business. I don’t mean to defend him but this is some of the inside info I know

    • Samazi1

      I agree with you Zwelibanzi, Minister Mpofu must be a hard worker and a creator of wealth. Four years as a CEO in the mid 1980s was indeed long enough a service for one to get a decent handshake. and all boils down to what one decided to do with the few thousand dollars one might have got. If he bought a property in Bulawayo CBD at a time when no square metre of office space would lie idle for a month, the man should have made significant cash. Rememeber, in the mid 1980s to about 1999 Zimbawe’s economy was booming and the Zimdollar was stable. Wise investment resulted in significant wealth for the discerning, and I believe minister Mpofu is indeed an astute fellow. Like him or hate him, he must have earned a significant chunk of his empire.

  • Gabaricheka Mabhunu

    Mpofu is one of the most hard working people in our midst . People are jelous because of his wealth . If a black person acquires wealth , the fellow black peple with PHDs , pull him down syndroms , call his corrupt . But had it been a white person with such wealthy noone would ask . Shut- up you poverty minded people . To hell with you . If Phillip Chiyangwa buys a nice car you say he stole the money , if Prophet Makandiwa drives a nice car u say , hes stealing money from the poor people at Church . The same you talk is said to every successfull business man . Come on Zimbabweans lets come out of this evil shell. Dont you kuti kune vamwe vanhu vane ropa remari and Mpofu is one of them . Leave him alone ….

  • Harare

    he should show proof of when he purchased the properties, taxes paid. we all know he bought the properties when he was minister of mines

  • EXPOSER

    keep the argument going my fellow brothers but you all no that no action of the law will be taken against them.FULL STOP