FORMER Mines minister Obert Mpofu got himself a lifeline this Monday after he delayed his interrogation by the legislature’s mines committee by appealing to the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda.
Mpofu, now home affairs minister, was requested to leave the Senate room immediately by committee chair Temba Mliswa.
The minister wrote a letter written to Mudenda requesting that Mliswa be removed from chairing the committee when he appears to explain how diamonds were “looted” in Marange.
“The Speaker informed me yesterday about the letter that you have written to him pertaining to the reason why I cannot chair while you are there,” said Mliswa without sharing its contents.
He added, “That letter is receiving due attention. The committee has issued its recommendations to the speaker.
“It’s a matter that is being dealt with as we speak. So, until it is resolved we cannot accommodate you; for now, you are excused.
“I’m sorry parliament had not written to you pertaining that.”
Mpofu thanked the chair and left.
He is considered a key witness in the parliamentary investigation on what happened with the Marange diamonds.
In February, the minister refused to give evidence before the committee, arguing that Mliswa had preconceived ideas about him.
He claimed independent Norton MP had on several occasions maligned him on social media.
Mliswa particularly wants Mpofu to explain how he arrived at his claims that the Marange fields would earn Zimbabwe $2 billion annually when, in reality, nothing significant was realised by the country.
Former president Robert Mugabe claimed $15 billion went missing from the controversial diamond fields.
The committee’s investigations have, so far, exposed that the diamond fields were not being properly mined.
It has also emerged that there was excessive executive interference and that mining was done unprofessionally with output projections thrown around without scientific research.