Former Reserve bank Governor Gideon Gono who is at the centre of a Farm Mechanisation Scheme scandal that was unearthed by constitutional lawyer Alex Magaisa yesterday has taken the time to respond to Dr Magaisa’s allegations which he called inaccurate and defamatory, The Sunday Mail reports.
Speaking to the publication, the former RZB Chief said:
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My statement comes in the wake of Dr Magaisa’s allegations, which makes a lot of unfounded allegations and inaccurate, and unfair conclusions that border on defamation.
I come as the man who was in charge of the RBZ during the most trying period in our history and as a man who was at the centre of trying to keep the economy going.
I can state categorically that Dr Magaisa is offside and that no beneficiary of the farm mechanisation programme ever refused to pay for the equipment that they got and neither were they asked to pay
Gono further said the scheme was made under provisions of the RBZ Act, which compelled the RBZ to carry out quasi-fiscal activities at the request of Government:
The RBZ undertook this quasi-fiscal activity at the behest of Government and in the national interest. This was done in accordance with the then Section 8 of the RBZ Act Chapter (22:15) which authorised State to direct the Central Bank to carry out transactions in such a manner as the State may require and if so requested by the State, the Bank was to make the necessary arrangements to this end.
Section 8 (11) of the old RBZ Act (Chapter 22:15) read with the Banking Act (Chapter 24:20), the Official Secrets Act (Chapter11:09), the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Chapter 20:27) and the Exchange Control Act of 1996 are all legislative and legal administrative instruments at the hands of a Government to use to achieve certain desired objectives. Any Governor worth his salt works within the confines of those and other Acts to advance Government objectives
Gono also said on independence the RBZ assumed Rhodesian’s debts and none of the debts belonged to the Zimbabwean people as he tried to explain why the burden of the scheme was now being passed on to today’s taxpayers:
At independence, the RBZ and Government in general assumed loans and obligations that had been incurred by the previous regime, some of which had been used to acquire military equipment that maimed and killed our people as well as agricultural loans that had been taken with State guarantees from banks during those difficult years.
None of these belonged to blacks. Today, under a legitimate Government Mechanisation Programme that covered both A1 and A2 farmers during a very difficult period in the history of our nation becomes a scandal?
Both rural and non-rural farmers benefited from the takeover of the loans by the State but I shall elaborate. There was no scandal here, no corruption and no beneficiary refused to pay. The State did not demand payment and that was above board
Magaisa’s article unearthed many beneficiaries of the scheme who are mostly people in government and those who are connected to the government including clergymen Ezekiel Guti and Nehemiah Mutendi.
More: The Sunday Mail