HARARE businessman Lovemore Kurotwi has engaged President Emmerson Mnangagwa in a bid to recover $17 million seized by the State when he was hounded out of the Chiadzwa diamond fields allegedly at the behest of former Mines minister Obert Mpofu.
In a letter to Mnangagwa dated January 4, Kurotwi reiterated his claims that due to his refusal to give Mpofu a $10 million bribe, he was forced out of diamond mining fields in Chiadzwa and lost $3,6 million cash, 1,4 million carats of diamonds and mining equipment worth $14 million which he had invested through his company— Canadile Miners.
“We were given this concession in partnership with Marange Resources, a government mining company under the auspices of ZMDC (Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation). In fact, ZMDC guaranteed the partnership,” read part of the letter seen by NewsDay.
“However, as is on record, former Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu asked me for a bribe of $10 million. Upon my refusal to give him this bribe, minister Mpofu caused my arrest on unfounded allegations of fraud. Again as is now public knowledge, I was acquitted by the courts of law for these trumped-up charges.”
In his letter, the businessman accused Mpofu of having “illegally confiscated the assets mentioned above, namely, $3,6 million cash which was in MMCZ’s (Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe) account, 1,4 million carats of diamonds which were in our vaults in Mutare and our mining equipment worth $14 million which was initially used to mine diamonds by Marange Resources and is now being used by ZCDC (Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company) to mine diamonds in Chiadzwa.”
Mpofu, who was not answering his phone yesterday, has persistently denied allegations that he demanded a $10 million bribe from Kurotwi, while accusing the businessman of being poor to even afford a bottle of water.
But Kurotwi said he had evidence to back up his claims and pleaded with Mnangagwa to help him facilitate “restitution of our assets as stated”. After his acquittal in 2016, Kurotwi engaged former President Robert Mugabe with a view to recover his assets, but there was no joy for him and he now hopes the new administration will assist.