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Gono defends decision to hire Biti

12/02/2017 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
Tendai Biti with Gideon Gono
 
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FORMER central governor Gideon Gono has defended his surprise decision to hire Zanu PF rival and ex-Finance Minister Tendai Biti as his lawyer.

This follows a case in which his (Gono) former adviser Munyaradzi Kereke had taken him to court claiming he had defrauded the troubled bank of over US$37 million plus more, among a slew of allegations, during a turbulent tenure as central bank chief.

Kereke, now serving a 10-year jail term for rape, has since withdrawn the allegations, following that with a surprise apology to Gono.

Perhaps opening up for the first time on the bitter fallout with his former aide, Gono sang Biti’s praises, adding that the fiery opposition politician was denied a chance to rip into the jailbird’s “lousy set of allegations” against him.

“My lawyer in this case, Mr Tendai Biti, the former Finance Minister and therefore shareholder of the bank at the material time, and who knew the truth about my operations, has been denied a legal field day as this matter has also been withdrawn before trial...” Gono said.

He was talking to the state media which has since resurrected the messy fallout between Gono and Kereke.

When Gono fired Kereke as his advisor in 2012, Kereke went for broke, demanding the arrest of his former boss for allegedly embezzling Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) funds.

He demanded Gono’s arrest for stealing US$37,5m plus R1,4m and GBP21 511 from the RBZ.

Kereke also accused Gono of cosying up to then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai whom he was said to have corruptly paid $1,5m towards the purchase of his Highlands mansion.

The businessman and former Zanu PF legislator also made claims that Gono had sponsored the disappearance of his wife and son and the abduction and beating up of his driver.

There were further claims Gono had hired Kereke to write examinations for him towards the attainment of his doctorate.

Gono said all this was a sting operation by a bitter man who was out to sully his image for offences he never committed.

But what Kereke succeeded in doing was to petition the authorities to open up corruption allegations against Gono.

“I deliberately chose former Finance Minister Tendai Biti as my lawyer,” Gono said of a former MDC-T politician who had also become his personal enemy.



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“I have had running battles with him before and after he came into government.

“At one time Mr Biti, at an MDC rally in Masvingo in 2008, called for my public execution by firing squad.

“When the riot act was read to both of us by the GNU’s top six in December 2009 in the President’s Munhumutapa Offices, we were forced to embrace each other.

“But when it came to the case of objectivity and eloquence in argument, I could not have chosen anyone better.”

Gono said Biti was best to defend him as he was not tainted by Zanu PF factional politics which could easily influence his impartiality when representing him.

“He was there for me as a lawyer without a godfather or godmother mentality in the factional politics of Zanu PF of the time.

“I shunned factional politics as I still do now, and an opposition lawyer was good enough for me.

“I felt victory was going to be sweeter if an opposition man stood to defend me, rather than a known Zanu PF functionary as this could draw scepticism from people who are in the habit of seeing our judicial system as politically compromised,” Gono said.

Gono denied ever defrauding the central bank or committing any of the crimes alleged against him.

“Suffice to say that while I am not an angel or a direct descendant of St Peter and indeed made my fair share of poor professional judgement and errors, I did not defraud the central activities of any nature,” Gono said.


 
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