Minister defends Obert’s wealth

Dr Obert Mpofu

Dr Obert Mpofu

Harare Bureau
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has defended Home Affairs Minister Dr Obert Mpofu, saying allegations of corruption levelled against him are unfounded since he accumulated much of his wealth before joining Government.

Minister Chinamasa said this in the National Assembly on Thursday while responding to an avalanche of queries from some legislators on how Dr Mpofu got his wealth.

Mabvuku-Tafara Member of Parliament (MP) Mr James Maridadi (MDC-T) and Norton MP Mr Temba Mliswa (Independent) said Dr Mpofu’s acquisition of several assets, including mines, raised eyebrows as he could have bought them during his time as the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.

During debate on the 2018 National Budget, the two legislators called for Dr Mpofu to be investigated.

Minister Chinamasa noted that though he holds no brief for Dr Mpofu, most of the allegations that were being made lacked merit since they were unsubstantiated.

“I first met Honourable Mpofu around 1984 when I was going to Gaborone, Botswana, with my family for a visit,” he said. “We met at Plumtree and he was already a businessman.

“Later on, when I was an Attorney-General, I think I wanted to speak to him and he took me to his building. He had already bought it in 1998 – a very expensive building in Bulawayo.

“I am just telling you of facts that I know. I cannot defend him if there is anything or any monkey business. You know where the problem is Honourable Maridadi? We are not accustomed to see a rich African.

“We are very much comfortable to see a rich white person, but when we see a rich black man, we conclude that he is a thief. This is not a fair comment.”

Minister Chinamasa said legislators ought to know that some people had sweated for their wealth from loans and debts from financial institutions.

“I am not entrepreneurial, but there are some people who borrow heavily and most of the things that you see, you would think that they have spent cash,” he said. “Look into it, zvikwereti (it’s loans). Some people are risk-takers.

“You would not go and borrow $3 million. I would not dare. Probably, I would go for $50 000 or $100 000 — ndinenge ndatopedza (I will be done), but there are some people  who take risks, if the bank rikangobwaira chete (snoozes), they will borrow                                                                                         $5 million.

“What they do with that money is up to them. If they have any debts, normally vanombokunyara kana uri minister (they might be extra courteous for some time if you are a minister). Kana usisiri Minister (if you are no longer a minister), before you reach home, kunenge kwatove  netsamba (there would already be a letter of demand).”

Minister Chinamasa implored people to desist from making unfounded allegations against people because of their wealth.

“This is because at the end of the day, I have no obligation to tell you whatever I am doing, except when we come to disclose our assets,” he said.

“Even then, we want to make it confidential because you do not want to say, when I make a disclosure you say ‘akaiwana kupi’ (where did he get it).

“I have been employed as a lawyer since 1972. Now, you cannot ask me if I have got any assets.

“Not that I have any. You cannot ask me kuti ndakazviwana kupi iwe wakauya zuro (you cannot ask where I got my wealth when you arrived on the scene late).

“You were only born yesterday and you want to equate yourself to someone who has been in this game for all this long. I am not in any way fighting for Cde Mpofu in his corner. I am just telling you what I know.”

Minister Chinamasa said there was  nothing wrong with Dr Mpofu owning a mine.

“I know some honourable members here who own mines,” he said. “So, if one day you are appointed a Minister and you own a mine, I do not see any problem.

“Let us get used to people owning assets — it is not evil. So, we do not want people to be disqualified because they own assets.

“Let us take, for example, Tillerson. He was in the oil business, was he not? Tillerson, the State Secretary in the United States of America’s government, he is himself probably a billionaire or something.

“In fact, in that Cabinet there are billionaires, they have got assets, but they declare the assets and pursue the national interest.”

 

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  • Trotsky

    Let him account for himself how he acquired it

    • Tim Mathuthu

      For your own infor Obbie was a Millionaire during the 80′s. The truth is kept secret the reason is undercover. This is not second hand information .

  • Cetshwayo kaGodlwayo

    Defending a fat criminal ngoba laye uChinamasa is a crook, his son exited through Plumtree border post with several millions of US dollars…and he denied that it ever happened. Who is he trying to fool? He is safe because Ngwena protects his crooks just like Mugabe protected his crooks abo Jonah…

  • MUTASAWAKAROKA

    Obert, lala laza ngikhuengule, imboitwa chikuku vatavata. Munochiziva chikuku vatavata. That’s where we would put a fowl’s head under its wing and tell it that it’s asleep when it’s not. Same with The Most Obidient Son. After elections the game will change. Siyabe singasancengi amavhotsi. Better run when there is still time, resign and go.

  • Jojo Wamoyo

    They said that about Jona. Where is he now. Let people answer for themselves. If they are innocent, they will go free. When you are brought to court, you will be a suspect untill proven guilt.

  • Hon. O. Mpofu

    Being rich is not a crime in Zimbabwe and I do not have to account to anybody as to how and why I lawfully generated so much wealth for my family. Nobody can prove that any of my high-value assets were corruptly acquired ; readers and fellow MPs should therefore desist from making slanderous statements about me.

    • Bradnick Munashe Manzanga

      as a public servant you have to account to e public.if you choose to remain private, resign please.

      • Tim Mathuthu

        Ma friend keep quiet if ya aint gt nuthang to say. Ma friend have got 6 Econet shops he pays $83 000 tax every quarterly. He is just a good businessman. If you want to know how much someone makes check how much they remit their taxes. Tell me ma frnd of Obbie? How much do you think he pays to the taxman.

        • Bradnick Munashe Manzanga

          go hang, are u Dumbuguru’s spokesman?

    • Obiza my man!

      If you are the real Obiza, tell us why allied Bank/ZABG crumbled as soon as you were removed from ministry of mines, tell us why Maminza Transport is now failing, or why the hardware shops u have are collapsing. Are we wrong to think that you were using these businesses as a smoke screen for the looting you were doing in Chaidzwa

    • DDL

      I think for me it is difficult to point a direct finger without direct proof. However people that are in Government should be audited on how much they have paid in their taxes on the Profits that they made in the last decade. That in my opinion would be Circumstantial evidence as to if one has corruption tendencies or not. Further more people with such wealth should show where they bank their money. If it is under the mattress that is also an indication, If it is out of the Country with no reason or record that is a crime. To go even further were any of ones earnings in any way connected to his or her portfolio? Lastly were any tenders that were connected to his or her portfolio awarded to relatives, friends or acquaintances.,,,,,

    • Lizard kaHungwe

      Some of knew you when you were still farming and operating a grocery store at GreenHaven ,you were cattle feeding ,garden produce, way back in the early 80s,.You were an early riser,you would by the market in town by 4.am ,back to feed your cattle ,oh boy you were an extra ordinary worker .You are my role model ,.You made your money long before you got into govt.So just ignore these haters and carry on making more .You have the Midas touch period

      • Frank Talk

        True that

    • Tim Mathuthu

      Obbie leave poverty stricken fellows talking. Some people have been poor since birth, they just got to know of good life when they graduated at Varsity. I used to stay at Richmond along Falls Road, Obbie you have been working hard since you graduated in India. Thina siyasebenza bona bayadlala. Yilaba bantu abangela mizi abalemizana, abalenkomo ezimbili lamadonki amahlanu. Thina esiNgunini siyasebenza.

  • Ton van Der Parker

    What is questionable Patrick Chinamasa is when one individual owns nearly half of buildings in Bulawayo CBD and three quarters of Victoria Falls and loads of mines, especially when he has held the mines portfolio. If he really is wealthy then his bank and newspaper company would not have folded and he would have paid his employees. He still owns the employees huge some of money.

  • Lizard kaHungwe

    I first knew Obert Mpofu in the early 80s ,the man has sweated for most of what he has ,a self made man . The man just has the Midas touch period.Haters bvirayikure

  • Khazamula Hlengani

    Mr Mpofu Sir,with due respect,thing is you have got just two many going concerns country wide,particularly Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. Its one thing to diversify but another to have some shut down left,right and centre without even worrying about the men and women who work hard at these businesses and lose lots of money in owed salaries. This,i think is being cruel. I also remember you signing most obedient son when communicating with former president mugabe whom you conviniently dumped overnight for the new president. Is this not hypocrisy? I applaud you though for getting on this forum in trying to explain yourself but Mr Chinamasa should never be your spokesperson otherwise he will be complicit in your empire. Honestly sentiments out there are such that president ED has a real taskin convincing people that he means well by having made certain appointments to his cabinet

  • Tim Mathuthu

    Obbie was rich way before 1982 he was a TOP DOG. A Black Man with a white mentality when it comes to wealth. How much did you have in 1982 Mr Legislator???? Leave hard workers alone.

  • Msongelwa

    I think Mugabe also must be investigated as all this looting happened under his leadership, his ministers who are currently under investigation they knew their wrong doings were protected by their most corrupt leader and his wife who bought such an expensive ring worth millions of dollars, Mpofu we know that every one is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law, but when diamonds worth billions of dollars went missing you were the minister of finance then on Zacc’s investigations you must help so as to know what really happened, and to avoid conflict of interest you must leave government when you are much more involved in the private sector.

  • Eugene Matikiti

    I was asked to be an MP for Gokwe South and to my father’s astonishment I refused twice. Abel Makubaza said, ” ukahwina unoita Minister nekuti even Mugabe haazobvunzi kuti Eugene ndiani. ” I told him I did not think his assumption that I could be a Minister is right but be that as it may I told him that I never want to be a Minister in Zimbabwe because suddenly my Matsheumhlope House I bought in 1987 will suddenly be ill gotten wealth. Phillip Chiyangwa said, if Strive Masiyiwa were in Zimbabwe he would have been arrested. Phelekezela Mpoko was put on a guilt trip for owning Choppies which business he owned way before 2013 when he became Vice President. Amazing Zimbabwe.
    Nothing to do with Obert Mpofu who I know very well and his daughter met me in Maputo on Wednesday and called me baba . I worked with him in the 80s and happen to know his source for at least his first business. But we grew apart , not completely as we are always in touch , ( He was at my daughter’s wedding last February ) , and so I cannot vouch for his so called wealth . But my point is , do not be rich in Zimbabwe. If you are rich, play a low profile.
    Obert maybe must keep quiet about his wealth. That really I should not be posting in the media and tell him directly . He must not brag and say I am rich. Obert must take a leaf from Emmerson Mnangagwa . The man kept quiet and even applauded with clapping of hands when he was called names. Ha ha ha ha.

  • Observer

    New words in town. “Six Pack” = body builder’s muscled stomach. “Cooler Box” = Big fat, smooth curvy stomack.