FORMER Mines minister Obert Mpofu yesterday bragged before High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu that he was so rich and would not stoop so low as to demand kickbacks from prospective miners as alleged by Core Mining and Mineral Resources director Lovemore Kurotwi.
Mpofu, who is now Transport minister, was responding to Kurotwi's claims that the minister had demanded $10 million from him as kickback for approving the latter's diamond mining activities in Chiadzwa five years ago.
Mpofu said he had been a businessman for many years and was so rich that he could even employ Kurotwi and his co-accused, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) chief executive Dominic Mubaiwa.
Mpofu said the allegation levelled against him by Kurotwi was "a well-choreographed drama instigated by his [Kurotwi's] lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa" in a move meant to please the media.
The minister made the remarks after Chief Law Officer Chris Mutangadura suggested to him that Kurotwi had denied in his defence outline ever causing the government a $2 billion potential investment prejudice in a diamond mining joint venture, but claimed the minister wanted to fix him through the current charges for refusing to pay a $10 million kickback.
"It's a serious joke that he would say something like that, but anyway he never said it to the President; that is a drama that has been well-choreographed by Mtetwa. He didn't say that [to the President], that's nonsensical, people always say that when they are cornered. I would never even ask for a bottle of water from him, I take great exception to that allegation," Mpofu said.