ZANU PF Minister Turns On Gideon Gono, Demands: "Return Our Money"
With Zimbabwe's roads still in a deplorable condition, littered with potholes such the one in Harare City above shown in this picture, a senior ZANU PF minister and trusted aide to Mugabe has publicly demanded that Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono return US$7 million that he siphoned from a bank account belonging to Zimbabwe's Roads Agency. He is threatening to let Tendai Biti loose on Gono is the Governor continues to ignore letters sent to him demanding repayment of the misappropriated money.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 28 October 2009
A senior ZANU PF minister has turned on Gideon Gono, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in parliament, saying he had stolen money from the bank account of the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (ZINARA) and was refusing to give it back.
Minister of Transport and Communications Nicholas Goche (also a negotiator for Mugabe in the negotiations with the MDC, leading to the formation of the Inclusive Government) told a Parliamentary Committee that Gono stole US$7 million from the ZINARA account at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
"We have written several letters to the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe)," said the Minister. "ZINARA have actually shown me some of the letters. R50 million is a lot of money, about US$7 million, so we are still waiting for that money to be returned."
Gono has simply ignored the letters and not bothered replying to ZINARA or to the Minister. He still has the arrogance from his heydays, when he operated as the de facto Prime Minister of Zimbabwe under Zimbabwe, accountable to nobody but Mugabe himself.
He even had so much clout that he got Finance Ministers fired by Mugabe.
Goche then turned and threatened to hand Gono over to Tendai Biti, saying, "If we fail to get a response, we will also engage the parent ministry because that money will assist us a lot."
It is a shock move and a shock revelation: while roads all over Zimbabwe are crumbling, littered with potholes, the Central Bank governor was busy siphoning money meant to repair these roads and using it to fund the trips of ministers and the president overseas, funding the shopping sprees of Grace Mugabe in Hong Kong and Dubai.....
Gono himself wants to posture, talking about sanctions and the like, yet he will not address such issues as these - the taking of money that did not belong to him was theft, pure and simple, even if that theft was done with ministerial authority. A thief is not exonerated because he says he was forced or ordered to steal.
It is mind-boggling that Mugabe sees nothing wrong with Gono did, because these are not the only funds Gono too without account owners' permission. There are other NGOs and government departments that are also still waiting for him to repay them.
It is also a revelation that shows Gono not to have the unified support of the ZANU PF machinery. The only person who is saving his skin is Mugabe himself, because Gono knows all the financial skeletons of Mugabe's family and which cupboard they are in.
Gono and the Reserve Bank are now broke, having been reined in by Tendai Biti, who has cut off all avenues of funding for the Central Bank. Biti has also taken the view that money stolen by Gono from NGO and Government agencies' accounts will not be refunded by this new government.
This is why it is wholly unwarranted for Morgan Tsvangirai to go the route of destroying the Inclusive Government over the appointment of Gono, especially.
Biti has him under control. And he continues squeezing.
Slowly but surely, he is being squeezed and because of this dipping of his hand into other people's bank accounts, displeasure with Gono reaches across the political divide.
Gono is definitely on his way out, but not through being fired by Mugabe.
Tsvangirai should leave Biti to deal with Gono and concentrate on more substantive issues. It ma take time, but he will get there.
What the Prime Minister is doing now is simply putting his progress, if there has been any, two steps back.