CIO behind Mpofu break-in

obert_mpofuMissing diamonds - minister probed
HARARE Agents of Zimbabwes spy agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), have been fingered as the culprits behind the break-in at the Harare offices of Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Obert Mpofu last December. (Pictured: Obert Mpofu)

News of the break-in only emerged last week. Mpofu was away on leave from 20 December 2009 until February 1 this year. He allegedly alerted the police who are investigating the crime. Informed sources within the government said CIO had been investigating Mpofu for some time. They are investigating his role in the murky goings-on at the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

The agents are said to have collected hard-disk drives and documents from Mpofus office on the seventh-floor of the ZIMRA Centre in Harares central business district. There were four break-ins by unknown persons into my office when I was on holiday. I do not know what they took but confidential information has been published since the break-in, he told The Zimbabwean. Mpofu alleges that classified information about the diamond fields has been appearing in the press. This information could only be part of secret documents that were stolen from his office, he said. The minister refused to give any more specific details about the documents.

Mpofu has been accused of involvement in the ongoing Chiadzwa scandal. Early this month he personally, accompanied by police officers, went to the Reserve Bank to retrieve 29kg of diamonds. This was carried out in defiance of a Supreme Court order in the dispute between the lawful mining concession holders, African Consolidated Resources (ACR) and the government, ruling that the diamonds be secured in the vaults of the Reserve Bank. These diamonds have since vanished into thin air.

The missing diamonds which were held in three large strong boxes were part of a larger collection of diamonds that were mined by ACR before they were evicted. ACR was forced by police at gun-point to vacate its mining concession in Chiadzwa in 2006 In December last year a High Court ruled that its ejection was illegal and that ACR is the rightful owner. The government has appealed.

Recently an official from the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation shocked politicians when he gave details of how Mpofu appointed Mbada Investments, a joint venture formed by the Zimbabwe government and Grandwell of South Africa last year to mine Chiadzwa. The ZMDC chief operating officer Dominic Mubaiwa said Mpofu had instructed mining officials to appoint Mugabes former Air Force helicopter pilot, Robert Mhlanga, to the post of chairman of Mbada, together with Sthengisiwe Mpofu (a relative), Dingiswayo Ndlovu (an employee of the ministry of mines) and Miss Chrystosoma Kanjoma.

Yes we did receive that instruction, yes we did receive a letter from the Minister. Mubaiwa told the shocked parliamentarians.

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