Gono stole US$40 million from state coffers: Kereke

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HARARE – The Constitutional Court yesterday reserved ruling on whether or not Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana and Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri should be cited as respondents in a case in which Bikita West legislator Dr Munyaradzi Kereke is seeking to compel the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate corruption and fraud allegations against former central bank governor Gideon Gono.

Dr Kereke also wants a declaration that the refusal by ZACC to investigate the allegations was a breach of its constitutional mandate. In the constitutional case, Dr Kereke is seeking to compel the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate and arrest Dr Gono on allegations of theft, corruption and fraud committed at the time he was at the helm of the RBZ. Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku deferred ruling on the preliminary point.

Dr Kereke’s lawyer, Advocate Lewis Uriri, officially withdrew an application to have Mr Tomana and Comm Gen Chihuri cited as respondents, but the court asked the parties to address it on whether it was legally correct for the two to be cited. In the constitutional application filed in December last year, Dr Kereke argued that ZACC was acting unconstitutionally by failing to probe allegations of abuse of public office, corruption and theft against Gono.

Dr Kereke said he wrote to ZACC in 2013 outlining Gono’s alleged corruption between 2006 and 2009 when he was the central bank governor. He alleged that Dr Gono took more than $37,5 million, R1,4 million and £21 500 from State coffers, converting it to his personal use.

Dr Kereke accused Dr Gono of circulating Cabinet minutes and military files to hostile foreign governments in breach of the Official Secrets Act. He said he had proof to back the allegations and was ready to present it. Dr Gono, it is alleged, abused his authority by borrowing more than $40 million through his companies.

Dr Kereke said he wondered how Dr Gono would perform his supervisory role after borrowing such huge sums from local banks. Another allegation was that Dr Gono sold pure gold bullion to a private jewellery company in Saudi Arabia at a 34 percent discount.

Dr Kereke accused Dr Gono of misrepresenting to Government the true status of the International Monetary Fund debt by claiming the country had cleared it. He further alleged that in 2009, Dr Gono casually wrote an instruction on a scrap of paper for a junior officer to transfer $1,5 million into former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s bank account and the money has allegedly not been recovered.

Dr Kereke also alleged that Dr Gono took $200 000 from Reserve Bank coffers and gave it to the Financial Gazette newspaper, in which he is the majority shareholder. He claimed that ZACC commissioners were given money by Dr Gono for holidays when the country was facing economic challenges.

Dr Gono responded by dismissing the allegations as patently false, and has suggested that Dr Kereke might require psychological evaluation. He said the allegations were “malicious”, “vindictive”, “vitriolic” and calculated at frustrating his nomination as a Zanu-PF senator.

The former central bank chief had been nominated by Zanu-PF to fill the Manicaland Senate seat left vacant after the death of national hero Kumbirai Kangai last year. Dr Gono said he disputed every “allegation, contention, finding or judgment that has been made against me by the applicant”.

Gideon Gono

He added that Dr Kereke was abusing the courts, taking them as a platform to injure his dignity, character and reputation. Gono also asked why it took 14 months from the time Dr Kereke made his alleged claims to ZACC to the time he approached the courts.

He said the RBZ was audited regularly by reputable auditors like KPMG, Deloitte and Touche and BDO Kudenga, and no such fraud was discovered.

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