Kurotwi still waiting for seized $10m, mining equipment return

Core Mining and Mineral Resources director Lovemore Kurotwi said he was still waiting for government to honour its pledge to return the $10 million cash and mining equipment seized from his diamond mining company during the era when Obert Mpofu was Mines minister.

By Nkululeko Sibanda

In 2010, government seized Kurotwi’s equipment and money that was in the company’s vaults, accusing him of prejudicing the State of $2 billion in potential revenue. The officials also seized mining equipment which was meant for operations.

In an interview yesterday, Kurotwi said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, through Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, early this year pledged to facilitate a review of the matter.

“As it is common knowledge, our property and money was seized during the reign of the then minister, Obert Mpofu. Following the change of guard, I engaged with the Minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa, who asked me to write to him and detail all that had happened. I did that and I was assured they would get back to me,” Kurotwi said.

He added that he had been given a three-month period in which he was to get a response from Chinamasa.

However, the three-month waiting period has since lapsed and no communication has come through.

“The minister (Chinamasa) had asked me to give them three months before they got back to me.

“But the three months have since lapsed and I have been waiting. When I engaged with them, they advised me they had been running around with the party (Zanu PF) primary elections and now that they are done with them, I expect to hear from them,” he added.

“The minister has advised that he had talked to the President (Mnangagwa) about my issue. In his own words, the President was not happy and regretted whatever happened. It is our hope that he will do something about the issue.”

At the height of the diamond craze that visited Zimbabwe, Kurotwi was arrested together with his fellow director, Dominic Mubaiwa, after the government accused them of prejudicing the State of revenue to the tune of $2 billion.

This was after Mpofu allegedly demanded a $10 million bribe to facilitate meetings and subsequently a deal that would have seen Core Mining’s partners, BSGR, pour money into the diamond mining venture.

The matter went to court, where it was ruled that there was no sufficient evidence to sustain the allegations raised by the State.

Under the deal, BSGR had pledged to provide $2 billion worth of investment that would have seen the joint venture setting up infrastructure for mining, cutting, and polishing diamonds before they were sold to various markets throughout the world.

The deal, however, went sour after government failed to meet conditions that had been set by BSGR to guarantee the deal.

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