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Why this same Minister all the time?

25 Feb 2018 at 18:11hrs | Views
Shall the President demonstrate to all and sundry that the war against corruption has no sacred cows, in earnest.  Why should a single individual be allowed to denigrate and disrespect the whole nation on camera with no consequences?  Mpofu is stretching the nation's patience too far. The nation demands answers. The President's rhetoric and mettle is being tested here. His public hen-fight with a legally appointed Portfolio Committee Chair has no legal basis nor can it be reflective of the new era. Like him or not, Mliswa has the blessed mandate to call Obert to account. If Obert thinks he will get away with it - Mugabe style - Zimbabweans will not capitulate to his Mugabe-era Machiavellian snob gamesmanship. Is this not his chance to cleanse himself?  Why is this Minister always associated with graft, all the time?  Are all the stories, such as quoted in the news excerpts beneath, implicating this man , fabricated?  Just to capture a few :

Excerpt 1 : Courtesy of  The Zimbabwean, 22nd May 2016

Ziscosteel, once the largest integrated steelworks in Africa north of the Limpopo was sucked dry by Zanu PF vampires. Today , Zisco a pale shadow of its former self, and has been sold off to an Indian company, Essar. Investigations done by National Economic Conduct Inspectorate (NECI) in 2009 revealed that Mugabe's ministers such as Samuel Mumbengegwi, Olivia Muchena, Sithembiso Nyoni, Joice Mujuru, the late Stan Mudenge and Patrick Chinamasa all inappropriately and corruptly took payments from Ziscosteel.

Obert Mpofu, then Minister of Industry, was impeached by Parliamentarians in 2009 for admitting that Ziscosteel had been looted and milked out by senior government officials and latter prevaricating on that position. Mpofu had appeared before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, Industry and International Trade that was investigating the collapse of a $400 million deal to capitalise Ziscosteel by Global Steel Holdings.

While Mpofu was giving evidence at the parliamentary committee hearing on September 20 2009, a clerk appeared and delivered an urgent message to committee chairman Enock Porusingazi that Mpofu was wanted straight away by Vice President Joice Mujuru. Mpofu immediately left the hearing and went to meet Mujuru who told him to shut up. By the time he came back, he was denying that he knew anything about the looting frenzy at the steel company. He was fined $40,000. After his stint in the ministry, Mpofu was moved to preside over the Mining Ministry after which he became fabulously wealthy, and now owns a bank among other assets

Excerpt 2 : Radio VOP,  8th  February 2010

Harare, February 08, 2010 - Mines Minister, Obert Mpofu, has been fingered in the controversy surrounding the whereabouts of diamonds forcibly taken by police officers from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) last week.

The diamonds, worth millions of dollars, had earlier on been delivered to the central bank by the deputy sheriff in the presence of officials from governments Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), UK company and the owners of the diamonds, African Consolidated Resources (ACR), Central Intelligence Organisation Operatives, police officers led by one Freedom Gumbo.

Last month the Supreme Court ruled that 300 000 carats seized from the London-based ACR in 2006 should be kept at the RBZ for safekeeping.

Highly placed sources told RadioVoP that police officer Gumbo then told all the people who had witnessed the moving of the diamonds from MMCZ offices in Msasa to the RBZ that he had received directives from Senior Assistant Commissioner Silence Pondo - who heads the precious mineral unit to take the diamonds to an unknown destination. The police officers claimed to have been sent by Mpofu.
ACR lawyer Jonathan Samkange said over the weekend that Mpofu had ordered the police to remove the diamonds from the RBZ.
Samkange said he did not know where the diamonds had been taken to.

"The diamonds must be kept at the RBZ. I do not know why the government decided to disregard that order and take our diamonds," said Samkange.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku last month ruled that the diamonds should be held by the RBZ until the mining rights case between ACR and the government has been resolved. This followed an appeal by the government against a High Court order by Justice Charles Hungwe.

The sources said Mpofu had earlier on personally attempted to block the movement of the diamonds from MMCZ offices to RBZ after he produced a letter from the Supreme Court that allegedly barred the deputy sheriff from transporting the diamonds.

But the deputy sheriff stood his ground telling Mpofu that he was acting on the basis of Chidyausiku's order.

Zimbabwe's diamonds have been mired in controversy since government took over ACR claims in Marange.

Excerpt 3: Zimnowmedia  5th June 2014

Cabinet has taken the Minister of Transport, Obert Mpofu to task over secret awards of major road construction and passenger transportation contracts, NOW DAILY has learnt.
Mpofu told the state media last weekend that the multi-million-dollar contract to supply a ring road around Harare had already been awarded, without going to tender.
Another concession to provide the so-called 'train-buses' had also been given to three companies, including one trading as Metro Buses, which has failed to import enough buses to service the Chitungwiza route due to financial incapacity.
Mpofu faced a storm in Cabinet over the rise in traffic in Harare, which has led to massive congestion. In a hastily-cobbled up "transport policy" document presented to Cabinet this week, Mpofu blamed mini-buses for the upsurge in city centre traffic. He proposed banning the 'kombis' with immediate effect and giving transportation contracts to Chinese investors who control much of the economy.
However, other cabinet members opposed that policy and demanded that Mpofu withdraw threats to ban kombis. To address the secret transportation awards, Mpofu has now called for small local business people to form consortia and get contracts to run high-volume buses. It was not clear if any serious transporters were taking up the challenge.
Mpofu was demoted to the transport ministry by President Robert Mugabe after billions of dollars in state diamond revenue went missing from the Marange fields. He was also accused of corruption by a parliamentary committee.

Excerpt  4 : Zimbabwe Situation, 20th October 2016

A report on Ziscosteel by the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate in 2006 blamed a number of high-ranking government and ZANU-PF officials for looting at the company.

Obert Mpofu, the former industry and international trade minister admitted before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that government officials had looted the parastatal, but later backtracked after his claims had stirred a hornets nest.

Chiadzwa diamonds scandal

Obert Mpofu, as mines and mining development minister, was to also play a central role in the Chiadzwa diamonds saga. A diamond mining executive, Lovemore Kurotwi of Canadile Miners was to accuse Mpofu during a trial in 2013 of seeking a kickback of US$10 million in exchange for a licence to mine at the diamond rich area.  The country's diamond dealings were shrouded in so much opaqueness that Treasury, under former finance minister Tendai Biti, admitted that it did not know what was happening at the diamond mines. President Mugabe was later to reveal that the State could not account for revenues of up to US$15 billion generated from the diamond mines. Commitments to launch an inquiry into the missing US$15 billion are yet to take off.

May this man be subjected to all due legal resitutive processes without fear or favour. He needs to clear his name. So far, the public's untested hypothesis doesn't favour him. And yet only time will tell if the powers be can crack the whip. For electoral score-pointing, rival political parties would use such glaring untested scape-goats to their leverage. Its serious.

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Source - Munyaradzi Mhaka
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