He dismissed as baseless, alleging that some of his senior officials pillaged millions of US dollars in public funds through the Farm Mechanization Scheme of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) more than a decade ago.
It is after UK-based lawyer and author, Alex Magaisa published a weekend article that detailed tens of thousands of dollars owed to the central bank by representing both serving and former ruling party officials who have been excused from repaying them.
Magaisa ‘s suspected party members, officials, military officers, judges, state media journalists, and clergymen took millions of dollars of farm equipment they never paid back.
The loans were extended between 2007 and 2008 via the controversial farm mechanisation program of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). At the time Gideon Gono was the governor of the apex bank.
However, Zanu PF director of information Tafadzwa Mugwadi, in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com Sunday said the allegations were baseless claims aimed at whipping public emotions against the party ahead of the planned July 30 protests.
“Another fact that indicates that such transactions were viewed as loans is that credit scores were granted to all beneficiaries. According to the system the highest credit rating was A. An A credit-scoring indicates you were deemed most capable of repaying by the RBZ, while a C credit rating was the lowest among the beneficiaries, “continued Magaisa.
Gono also accused Magaisa of making unfounded, inaccurate and unfair conclusions in his article published Saturday.
But in a hard-hitting response to Gono Sunday, Magaisa produced several published articles that contradicted Gono’s claims that the scheme was not a loan that was meant to be paid back.
“Those who say Farm Mechanisation was free tell flagrant lies. I charged 10 billion ZW$ for mine which was then worked out as the equivalent of the USD. Everyone’s paying. There needs to be sensitivity to corruption, “Bhasikiti said.
The system was supported by Temba Mliswa, an independent MP from Norton, who is also a beneficiary, claiming it was no different from land reform.
“It was an agricultural development initiative for the government and not a loan. This is the fundamental issue this needs to be resolved. Was it too easy to grasp? The land reform plan was no different. Then the State accepted debt, “he said. – Nuzima