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Gono dares his accusers

Constantine Chimakure/Loughty Dube

RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono this week dismissed as “absolute laboratory-generated falsehoods” allegations by fugitive legislator for Gur

uve North, David Butau, that he was corrupt and that the central bank was involved in graft.

This comes amid reports that members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Budget and Finance are already lobbying the government to relieve him of his duties at the RBZ for alleged corruption.

Butau was the chairperson of the committee.

In a two-page statement from the UK where he fled, Butau alleged that the committee was probing Gono and the central bank for “gross violation of trust placed upon the governor by the head of state”.

Butau claimed that he took a risky decision of “going it alone” to expose the violations and this culminated in him being involved in illegal foreign currency dealings.

He demanded that authorities publish all transactions between the RBZ and Premier Bank or alternatively to make public “proper audited overnight cover” by the central bank to the financial institution.

Butau wanted to know in what capacity Gono allegedly offered on several occasions to rescue Premier Bank from liquidity problems.

“Why were the police not called in to investigate the so-called wrongdoing of Exodus Makumbe (former Premier Bank CEO) if they were indeed of a criminal nature?” read Butau’s statement. “Zimbabwe has five major and well established franchise holdings of the following brand of tractors (a) Farmec — Massey Fergusson (b) Tarrys — Landani (c) Sabata — John Deere (d) Bain — New Holland and (e) Tanaka — Renault.”

Butau questioned why the RBZ settled for South Africa’s Michigan Tractors for the agricultural mechanisation programmes when Zimbabwe was not under economic sanctions from any of the five tractor manufacturers and merchants.

“My receipt of Z$510 billion from RBZ via Flatwater was the clearest testimony that something was very wrong at the central bank,” wrote Butau. “Although others may view this as a source of blameworthiness on my part, I took the stupid risk because I knew it would unsettle the authorities at the central bank the moment they got wind of my involvement.”

But Gono in written response to questions by the Zimbabwe Independent dismissed Butau’s assertions.

“Please take note that your sources have supplied you with absolute laboratory-generated falsehoods which are nothing but a creation of their desperate imagination,” Gono said. “It would be sub-judice, unethical and unprofessional for me to comment further on matters that are before competent courts.”

Gono added that the truth would soon come out.

“Soon, the whole truth will be made public, complete with thorough, authentic and exhaustive due diligence, 100% auditable documentation trail and irrefutable chronology of events, and it will be up to the public jury to see it for themselves how some members of the community were vainly hoping to hide behind the smokescreen of wild falsehoods. For now, let the courts and the Zimbabwe Republic Police do their job unhindered,” Gono said.

Meanwhile, our Bulawayo bureau reported that the majority members of the parliamentary committee were already lobbying to have Gono relieved of his duties.

Gono is due to appear before the committee on Monday and is expected to name “cash barons” he accused of causing the current cash crisis in the country.

The committee also wants Gono to respond to allegations that the central bank was involved in corruption.

It emerged this week that the 13-member parliamentary committee, made up of five opposition legislators and eight Zanu PF lawmakers, has been consulting and has resolved that the central bank chief has more to answer than merely revealing his list of those he accuses of hoarding cash.

“Gono is finished. All members are convinced that he should go as he has not helped the country’s economic situation and, depending on the outcome, we will make recommendations that he go or recommend that RBZ operations be investigated,” said one committee member.

The parliamentary committee has set the ball rolling for a bruising encounter with Gono by declaring that proceedings at the Monday meeting will be open to the press.

“Everyone at the meeting agreed unanimously that the media be allowed to sit throughout the whole proceeding as there is nothing to hide,” said the committee member.

Another member said they were aware that Gono would try to defend the doling out of trillions of dollars to shelf companies to buy tractors for the farm mechanisation programme as part of sanctions-busting.

“We are aware that Gono will allege that he is busting sanctions if questioned on why he has been giving dubious companies cash to buy foreign currency on the black market. But that is not an issue because he should have sought the authority of the Finance ministry to do that and we are aware that the Finance minister has no idea of such deals,” said the committee member.

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