Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

How Obert Mpofu acquired his wealth

29 Jun 2019 at 09:54hrs | Views
A myth has been brewing across Zimbabwe which claims that Obert Mpofu corruptly acquired wealth while he was Minister of Mines and now owns half of Victoria Falls and half of Bulawayo. These old wives' tales are a bit exaggerated and lean towards propaganda. Before the deployment to the Ministry of Mines no one said Obert Mpofu was corrupt and equally no one spoke about his wealth.

It's time to do a bit of fact checking in order to bring facts to the table and not myths when dealing with issues of corruption. It is a welcome development that President Mnangagwa will investigate corruption but hopefully investigators will seek fact and not public opinion. Public opinion can be swayed , doctored and manufactured but as the old adage goes facts are stubborn.

One stubborn fact which keeps glaring at all researchers and seekers of truth is that Obert Mpofu was rich from as way back as 1985.

FACT 1 : Obert Mpofu has been working and acquiring wealth from as early as the 1980s and that wealth has been carefully managed to give returns thus growing the Mpofu asset portfolio.

In 1985 Obert Mpofu was managing director of Treger's where he had shares and clearly overtime those appreciate in value .

FACT 2 : Obert Mpofu has been a whistle blower who has exposed corruption even before people started talking about corruption and for that he received a golden handshake he from the government as a whistleblower over the Willowgate Scandal in the late 1980s.

FACT 3 : Obert Mpofu has been in the government since 1980. He was a minister until 1985. He then left and joined Treger's as MD (managing director) from 1985 to 1989. He then left and started his own business. On the Sandura Commission issue, he was given a golden handshake and he started acquiring properties, since then he has never looked back. All this happened before he was minister of mines where people claim he stole diamond money to build his empire.

FACT 4 :  Obert Mpofu owns two properties in Harare, number 2501 Greystone Park and 644 Borrowdale Brook. He also owns York House in Bulawayo and another building along 9th Street, and in Victoria Falls he only has a warehouse and residential properties for employees, which do not equate to even a tenth of Victoria Falls yet some Johnny know it all will claim Mpofu owns half of Vic Falls.

FACT 5 : The most expensive property owned by Obert Mpofu is York house which he acquired in 1998 long before his tenure as minister mines.

 FACT 6 : Obert Mpofu is a successful farmer. Like Father Zimbabwe once said if you want money go into farming. Obert Mpofu is  one of the biggest cattle ranchers in the country with over 4 000 cattle. He leases ranches from Cold Storage Commission. Any decent human being knows that if you invest in cattle they multiply and if Obert Mpofu began investing in cattle in the 1980s his herd should be sizeable by now and that's a fact you cannot argue with.

FACT 7:  Allied Bank was not the first financial services business owned by Obert Mpofu. Mpofu operated a business called Trebo and Kays and once owned a bureau-de-change in the 1990s, which he later sold to CFX. Now according to Love more Kurotwi Obert Mpofu had a hand in the disappearance of diamonds worth 140 million. If Obert Mpofu had that much money Allied Bank would not collapse as it needed 100 million to keep its doors open. The other fact around the ZABG - Allied Bank transaction is that it was not a cash deal. It was a property based deal. Zimbabwe only caught wind of half the story and added spice to the rest to suit a narrative which says Mpofu stole our diamonds.

In conclusion
As a researcher I find it odd that we , myself included fell for a hoax which says Obert Mpofu is the bogey man who misappropriated the nation's diamonds. Some believe that Obert Mpofu gained weight and became burly only during his tenure as minister of mines. We have not looked at the facts. Obert Mpofu might be corrupt but his wealth was not built on diamond money. For us to blame Mpofu for diamond money losses would be unfair and unwarranted. Why do we even single him out when Zimbabwe has had other mines ministers before ? My thoughts are that Obert Mpofu has always been happy to declare his assets and reveal his sources of wealth when asked. Obert Mpofu has exposed corruption where he has seen it . Obert Mpofu is a successful Ndebele businessman and politician who is doing a lot for his community and those households around him. His work is never celebrated nor publicised we only know that he is said to be  corrupt without the proof to go with it.

We will wait for the investigations and the results thereof but for now I am not convinced that "Mdudhla"(as Mpofu is affectionately known in Matebeleland) is corrupt. Obert Mpofu is innocent until proven guilty .

Nicholas Ncube is a researcher and blogger based in Ontario Canada

Source - Nicholas Ncube
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.