Mpofu loses temper in court

TEMPERS flared at the High Court yesterday after Transport minister Obert Mpofu described some of Core Mining director Lovemore Kurotwi’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa’s questions as childish during cross examination.

CHARLES LAITON
SENIOR COURT REPORTER

Mpofu, lost his temper after Mtetwa repeatedly asked him whether he kept minutes of all the meetings he held with investors and Kurotwi while discussing issues pertaining to diamond mining in Marange. He was being cross examined in the case in which Kurotwi is accused of prejudicing the State of $2 billion in a diamond mining deal.

Mpofu seemed to lose his cool when Mtetwa asked him to comment on whether the joint venture agreement between Core Mining and Marange resources had a clause stating that diamond mining giant, BSGR, was going to inject $2 billion into the joint venture with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).

“You cannot reduce me to some cheap commentator. I do not want to be challenged by such unreasonable childish questions. You have a pile of records in front of you and you are referring to them to refresh your memory and I don’t have any,” the former Mines minister charged.

“I understand the predicament you have in dealing with this matter, but I cannot be forced to comment on irrelevant matters.”
Mpofu said he did not remember some of the events off-hand since he had not brought with him any reference material. But Mtetwa suggested to him that the reason why he had forgotten was because he did not keep minutes. Mtetwa asked Mpofu whether he took into account the ZMDC guidelines when he dealt with potential clients.

“I was not guided by the ZMDC guidelines, most of these visitors simply paid courtesy calls and we referred them to ZMDC,” he said.
“I did not need any guidelines to deal with investors.”

The lawyer went on to ask Mpofu if he disclosed to President Robert Mugabe that BSGR’s commitment to the agreement to support Core Mining was subject to meeting certain conditions “ZMDC did not disclose that information to me. My letter to the president was an extraction of what ZMDC had written to me,” he said.

“How would I tell him when ZMDC had not told me such information?”
Mtetwa said the reason Mpofu did not copy ZMDC in his communication about BSGR to Mugabe was because he did not want them to know.
“Why would I copy my correspondent to the president to ZMDC? What kind of a lawyer are you?” Mpofu asked.

Mpofu told the court he was only aware of an agreement that was scrutinised by the Attorney-General’s office and not the one that was being referred to by Kurotwi and his co-accused, former ZMDC chief executive Dominic Mubaiwa.

Kurotwi has claimed that he was being victimised for refusing to give Mpofu a $2 million bribe for the Marange deal.

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