Nyarota accuses Mpofu of perjury

VETERAN journalist Geoff Nyarota has accused transport minister Obert Mpofu of lying under oath when he told the High Court, during the trial of Lovemore Kurotwi and Dominic Mubaiwa, that he is the one who broke the so-called Willowgate scandal.

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Nyarota, who was the editor of the Chronicle newspaper which broke the story in the late 1980s, said Mpofu lied when he told the High Court that he was the one who broke the scandal for he which the minister claimed he was “handsomely paid”.

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“Mr Mpofu or Dr Mpofu, as he is called now, lied that he broke the scandal. I understand that he said this in court under oath, but I hope you all understand what is called perjury,  he is liable to that,” Nyarota told a public discussion which was debating the recent move by Econet to raid a Harare news agency.

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Testifying in the fraud case against Kurotwi, a diamond investor who stands accused of defrauding government of $2 billion in potential investment, Mpofu said that he started his vast business empire from the money paid to him by government for breaking the scandal in the late 1980s.

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The minister reportedly has business interests in mining and farming. Until the recent collapse of his Allied Bank and the closure of his Zimbabwe Mail newspaper, Mpofu had interests in the financial and media sectors.

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Mpofu told the court last year that he gave Nyarota documents relating to the so-called Willowgate scandal for the then Chronicle editor to just write without any investigations.

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The high profile scam involved cabinet ministers who were buying cheap vehicles from the state owned Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries and resale them at high prices on the private market.

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Nyarota said Mpofu only acted as a source to the scandal as he only “gave us a cheque which we acted upon to investigate the whole scandal”.

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“It took an intense four months to investigate the whole issue and I challenge Dr Mpofu to prove his claims that he broke the story. He only gave us a cheque which had been sent to him mistakenly and he did so knowing my investigative skills,” Nyarota claimed.

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During the fraud trial of Kuritwi, Mpofu, who was the minister of mines when the alleged fraud occurred, was challenged to prove the source of his wealth and that is when he said he was given a golden handshake for exposing the rot at Willowvale.