Gono in fresh rebut of Kereke allegations

FORMER Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono last week further responded to his former advisor and Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke’s litany of new allegations of corruption and theft which he described as “scandalous, vexatious and defamatory”.

The feud between the two has taken a number of twists and turns since 2012 when it first broke out — starting as a verbal spat but is now before the courts.

In a voluminous answering affidavit, Gono responded to 14 additional allegations levelled against him by Kereke, which include a US$20 million fertiliser contract, travel expenses, missing IMF funds and theft of US$1,5 million for the former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s house among others.

Gono has since instructed his lawyers to make an application to expunge parts of the answering affidavit that are offensive but if not granted, he asked the court to be allowed to file an instant affidavit to answer only those aspects of new evidence that have been provided by Kereke in his answering affidavit.

“I am fully aware that, and persist with the point, the application was driven by malice and hatred and nothing more,” he said.

On the allegations that fertiliser bought from South African company, Intshona, agricultural products worth US$20 million was never delivered, Gono said the fertiliser was bought but they had an issue of quality with the suppliers.

“The truth of the matter is that fertiliser from Intshona was indeed supplied and provided to government. The issue pertaining to Intshona was the quality of fertiliser. However, government did in fact carry out tests for this fertiliser and accepted that its quality was adequate for the purposes of Zimbabwe,” reads part of the answering affidavit.

He said the matter was discussed at a cabinet meeting in November 2008 during the sidelines of the launch of the 99-year lease agreement programme he attended with Kereke.

In a letter from the Ministry of Agriculture dated November 14 2006 attached in the affidavit, the ministry acknowledged receiving 16 000 metric tonnes out of an expected 32 400 metric tonnes.

“We as ministry have had no problem with the fertiliser from Intshona. To date we are aware that Intshona has delivered 16 000 metric tonnes out of the expected 32 400 metric tons,” reads the letter attached to the affidavit.

According to documents attached, the second tranche of 75 000 tonnes was supposed to have been delivered by end of December 2006 while the rest was to be delivered on a monthly basis.

Gono also responded to the allegations concerning the missing US$503 million International Monetary Fund (IMF) funds.

“The applicant again maliciously proceeds to defame myself and other persons not involved in his dispute with me. It is common cause that the country was granted Special Drawing Rights equivalent to US$503 million. The government withdrew US$150 million from the same,” states the affidavit.

“I also want to place it on record that all the amounts that were drawn down were used by the government of Zimbabwe in various projects including infrastructure and agriculture projects.

“I also wish to state that, in terms of the public Finance Management Act, a person appointed as a Minister of Finance is not a signatory to any government account and does not have the capacity of making any withdrawal. The Act makes it clear that the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance is the paymaster-general responsible for directing payments whilst the actual withdrawals are governed by the accountant-general.”

Gono also responds to the allegation on the US$1,5 million given to Tsvangirai for the renovation of his Highlands house.

“Indeed, the sum of US$1,5 million was provided to the then prime minister of the country Morgan Tsvangirai. At the time he was a principal of government and a directive was made by government principals to provide such resources for the purchase of the prime minister’s residence,” states Gono.

“The applicant is well aware that this was a transaction conducted and concluded between the two principals of government and myself in my capacity as the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.”

On the gold coins, he said audit reports for the period 2009 through to 2011 have always confirmed the existence of the gold coins. He attached a letter from Ernst & Young dated March 26 2013 confirming their existence.

On the missing shares of the National Discount House, Dairibord and Cottco, Gono attached NDH share certificates which are all in the RBZ’s name. He said the shares at the other two companies were disposed by the bank through the right channels of the banks and proceeds were received and accounted for. — Staff Writer.