We need answers from both Zanu PF and MDC Vultures.

Recently, Morgan Tsvangirai questioned how Obert Mpofu got so wealthy over night. It prompts me to ask another question…” How has Morgan Tsvangirai become so rich without a business to his name” or according to one political commentator… “How has Morgan Tsvangirai’s brother Cephas managed to secure capital to end up being the biggest shareholder of a gold mine in the Midlands?”

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 Whilst we accuse Tsvangirai of hypocrisy, we still need answers from Obert Mpofu. According to the report in front of me, how has he [Mpofu] acquired the following riches in a short space of time? I quote (courtesy to PAC Report. Nov 2012):

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“……With the media attention mostly focused on Mpofu’s real estate holdings in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, less attention has been given to his landholdings which PAC has determined likely place him in the top five landowners in the country. In Matabeleland his holdings come second only to the 135,000ha owned by the Oppenheimer family in Shangani, 200 kilometers northeast of Bulawayo.

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Among Mpofu’s land holdings are:

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·         10,006ha, North Part, Umguza Block. This is property formerly owned by Cold Storage Commission (CSC) and is known specifically as Blocks 39, 40 and 41.

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·         1027ha, Auchenburg Farm, Nyamandlovu.

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·         Green Haven farm. Located close to the Umguza River just outside Bulawayo on the Victoria Falls road, this is a farm Mpofu has reportedly owned for some time and where he keeps most of his herd.

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·         3,700ha, Umguza CSC Block.

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·         2,300ha, Young Farm, Nyamandlovu.

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·         8000ha, Horseshoe Ranch, Matetsi. It is believed Mpofu bought this property from Bill Bedford in 2008 for an undisclosed sum. At the time of publication, hunting and safari operations were run by Shaun Kearney, a South African.

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·         100ha, in Epping Forest B section, a part of Accut and Crew, a formerly white owned farm bought for resettlement in 1996. Now referred to as Mswelangubo farm it serves as Mpofu’s main residence. The property has undergone extensive upgrades recently including approximately $150,000 on fencing and paving ahead of the lavish December 2011 party, the cost of which is estimated at another $250,000. In March 2012 a 10-kilometre stretch of road to this house was being resurfaced by a brand new Caterpillar excavator—something that the Umguza Rural Council would not have the money to do. The property also houses several commercial ventures, including a horticulture business, an abattoir and a chicken factory.

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Mpofu also controls Winter Block, a 40,000ha section of land next to Umguza Block. Mpofu as primarily used Winter Block to graze his cattle, which he has boasted is the biggest herd in Zimbabwe. With total farm holdings of at least 65,000ha, this would also place Mpofu amongst the country’s biggest landowners.

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It is estimated that since mid- 2009, Mpofu has acquired urban property in Matabeleland worth at least $5 million. During the same time frame it is estimated he has invested at least $2.5 million in renovations to properties in Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Umguza and Nyamandlovu

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His best known, and most prized, fixed assets include:

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·         Anchor House, Bulawayo. This five-storey building at the corner of Fort Street and 12th Avenue is Mpofu’s most recent known acquisition. In mid-2012 it was undergoing renovations, including a full paint job. The purchase price is unknown but similar buildings currently sell between $1-$2 million in Bulawayo’s depressed real estate market.

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·         A property commonly known as the Centrust Building, Bulawayo. Bought for $750,000 in 2011, it is one of Mpofu’s single biggest cash purchase. The building, located at 47 Fort St, housed several businesses including a travel agency of the same name. The purchase included subdivision A of Stand 9.The property was bought from the Khaley family in a deal reportedly facilitated by Bulawayo businessman Hitish Patel. All tenants vacated the building when Mpofu hiked the rent. In March 2012 the building was empty.

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·         A dilapidated two-storey office block on the edge of Bulawayo’s central business district, at the corner of Fife and First Avenue. It has been under construction for more than two years.

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·         York House, Bulawayo. At seven stories, this is one of Bulawayo’s tallest buildings and is said to be Mpofu’s pride and joy. Purchased for a song by Mpofu’s company Trebo and Khays in 2007 during the height of hyperinflation, it was partially rented by Agri-Bank until 2011. It has sat empty for almost two years as it undergoes extensive renovations, including a full interior gutting and the installation of new elevators. Contractors familiar with the project estimate the renovations at least $1.5million. With the long-term absence of rental income, Mpofu is undoubtedly drawing on other sources to pay for the renovations.

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·         46 Magpie Road, Bulawayo. This ostentatious two-storey property is located on a two-hectare plot in the tony suburb of Burnside. Mpofu acquired it more than 20 years ago but it has quadrupled in size after undergoing recent renovations estimated at $150,000. Mpofu’s Hummer has been seen at this address, as have police and private security guards.

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·         10 Livingstone Road, Suburbs, Bulawayo. Several sources confirmed they have met

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·         Mpofu at this suburban property, which sometimes acts as his office in Bulawayo. It has extensive security, including expensive surrounding walls, gates and guard house. It is also where Three Waters Investments, a diamond trading company, is known to conduct business.

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Since becoming Minister, another Mpofu company, Maminza Transport, has also come into possession of several Volvo heavy haulage trucks and some drilling equipment. The FH 12 model trucks, believed to be as many as eight, are kept at the former Clan Transport depot on the Plumtree Road in Bulawayo. Of all Obert Mpofu’s acquisitions, none of them raised so much public interest as his May 2012 purchase of the asset-less Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group. What is certain is Mpofu, through his company Trebo and Khays, invested at least $12.5 million—the minimum capitalization required by banking laws to operate. Gideon Gono has also confirmed that Mpofu is the “99.9% shareholder” of ZABG, although he has two years within which to “regularize the ownership structure” so no one shareholder can own more than 25 percent…..

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Tendai Kwari 

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