HARARE,– Home Affairs and Culture Minister Obert Mpofu on Thursday refused to give evidence before a parliamentary committee on diamond dealings during his tenure superintending the mines ministry citing personal differences with chairperson Temba Mliswa.
Mpofu, who was the mines minister between 2009 and 2013, appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy following that of businessman Lovemore Kurotwi who told the committee that the minister had demanded a bribe of $10 million after Canadile, a joint venture between his Core Mining firm and the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation was granted a licence to mine diamonds in the Marange fields.
“I cannot speak for a Ministry that I worked for five years ago,” Mpofu told the committee.
He accused Mliswa of unprofessionalism and of having a vendetta against him.
“I have been abused by you chair. You have said so many things about me in public,” said Mpofu.
The minister, who turned up at the hearing with two personal assistants, told members of the committee that he has no respect for Mliswa who has been abusing him in the media over diamond issues and had once driven to his home ‘over 600 kilometres away.’
“With respect to Honourable MPs, I will never, ever be presided over by Temba Mliswa because of what happened,” said Mpofu.
Mliswa accused Mpofu of lying to divert attention from ‘issues at hand that are bigger than any political points we might score,’ and said the minister an opportunity to write to the Speaker about his conduct or seek to have him recused from chairing the hearing.
“I never thought you would lie so much at your age,” Mliswa said.
“Your threats will not move me,” Mpofu shot back.
The meeting was adjourned to after lunch but Mpofu said he would not return until he receives a formal invitation. – Source