MPOFU QUIZZED OVER MISSING DIAMOND MONEY

BY JOHN CHIMUNHU|
Mines and mineral development minister Obert Mpofu recently failed to account for millions of dollars in missing diamond taxes after he was summoned over the issue by the principals to the inclusive government.
This was revealed by Prime Minister and MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai during an election campaign rally in Zvishavane on Friday.
Tsvangirai said the meeting was attended by President Robert Mugabe, Mpofu, finance minister Tendai Biti and himself.
He said Mpofu was asked how much had been earned from diamonds since 2010 and he said $2 billion had been realised.
“We asked Biti how much had been paid to Treasury and he said it was only $100 million. We asked Mpofu what had happened to the rest of the money and he could not account for it,” said Tsvangirai, speaking in Shona.
The MDC-T leader accused Mpofu of corruption, saying his party would root it out if elected into office.
“How does someone who was poor a few years ago suddenly own a bank? And now we are told he also owns numerous businesses in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls,”
Tsvangirai said.
According to the current budget, government expects to raise $400 million from diamonds this year.
On Thursday, Mugabe admitted that there was rampant theft of the country’s diamonds. He attributed this to the proliferation of diamond companies in Marange, saying succesful diamond-mining countries issued fewer licences.
A parliamentary report in June accused Mpofu of abusing his authority in the issue of licences and appointments to state joint venture diamond boards.

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