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Gono under renewed fire

RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono has come under renewed fire from former Barbican Bank CEO Mthuli Ncube for cancelling his bank’s licence.

Ncube, a professor of finance and a director for executive education at the Graduat

e School of Business Administration, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, accused Gono of pursuing a vindictive agenda against him by withdrawing Barbican’s bank licence. He also made allegations of ethnicity by Gono against him and accused him of destroying the economy.

Ncube slammed Agribank CEO Sam Malaba and former Barbican employee Simon Nyarota for allegedly collaborating in the “grand plan” to seize his bank’s assets.

Ncube said he was shocked to receive a letter from the curator of Barbican on June 21 saying his bank licence would soon be cancelled. In a letter to Finance minister Herbert Murerwa dated June 26, Ncube lashed out at Gono, accusing him of pursuing personal vendettas and ethnic agendas.

“I have received a copy of a letter dated 21 June 2006, from one Mr TM Matavire, an employee of KPMG, who says he is a Curator of Barbican Bank, notifying the directors of the bank that Mr Gideon Gono, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, intends to cancel the licence for Barbican Bank on 30 June 2006,” Ncube said.

“The letter mentions that a shareholder of Barbican Bank can appeal to the Minister of Finance against the cancellation of the licence. As a shareholder in Barbican Bank, I write to you appealing against the decision of cancellation of the licence.”

Ncube said the reasons for closure cited in the letter “are not only false and fraudulent, but are misleading and without basis.” He said Barbican’s assets were “illegally transferred” by the curator to “Gono’s ZABG project”. ZABG was formed from an amalgamation of Trust, Royal and Barbican banks. Shareholders of the banks are contesting the merger on the basis of a Supreme Court ruling which said their assets were unlawfully sold although Gono set up a commission which found nothing wrong with it.

“The facts are that Gono has been implementing a systematic strategy of targeted ethnic-cleansing against me personally, victimising me on purely ethnic grounds, through fraudulent expropriation in disregard of well-understood principles of property rights and rule of law,” he said. “The reasons cited in their letter are a mere cover-up designed to cover any tracks of their real intentions.” Efforts to get comment from Gono yesterday were unsuccessful.

Ncube left Zimbabwe last year at the height of turmoil in the banking sector and now lives in South Africa. His bank was closed amid numerous claims of financial abuse, externalisation, and insolvency by the central bank. But former Barbican directors have denied the allegations.

Ncube’s attacks against Gono come at a time when the central bank boss is coming under intensified pressure in the ruling Zanu PF and business circles where his opponents are baying for his blood. Politicians and bankers accuse Gono of destroying their businesses through his monetary policy measures.

Gono has said he was not targeting anyone in his job as his adversaries say.

But sources said politicians from the ruling-party faction led by retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru are going after Gono. It is understood that his rivals are pressing for his removal from the Reserve Bank, two and a half years before his term expires. Gono, accused of being connected to the Zanu PF camp led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, has openly clashed with Murerwa over his monetary policies. — Staff Writer.

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