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Gono says never took RBZ farm merchanisation freebies

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi


FORMER RBZ governor Gideon Gono says he never personally benefitted from the controversial farm mechanisation programme despite presiding over the free distribution of millions worth of machinery sourced through public funds by the central bank.

The machinery was distributed for free to the Zanu PF led government officials, party loyalists and associated members of the clergy at the height of the country’s land reform programme back in 2007.

Speaking in an interview with state media Thursday, the once powerful central bank chief said in his 36 working years, 10 of which he was at the helm of the apex bank, he applied for loans and bought everything he has acquired.

Gono said he was able to account for his wealth.

“I have got a record of everything that I have worked for, 36 years working formally, 10 of which I was central bank governor, 26 of which I was in the private sector, then of course another seven years after I retired,” said the once CBZ chief executive.

“So, I have got an account of virtually everything.

“Coming specially to the farming issue, in 2001 and at the height of the land reform programme, I went to His Excellency, the former President (Robert Mugabe) and in-fact, the current President (Mnangagwa) as well and indicated to them that every province has given Gono an allocation of a farm.

“But sadly, I am able to pay for my own farm.

“So, I am a proud owner of a titled farm which is paid for through a loan which is not even from CBZ but from Barclays Bank. It had to go through London for approval.”

Gono added, “When it comes to mechanisation, everything that I have from my farm is something that I paid for,” he said.

“There was a mistake at some stage when my officials (RBZ) thought I would get from the mechanisation programme.

“And on the 13th of February 2008, I had a meeting with the staff including the source of the equipment to say no, no, no, the governor does not benefit from national programmes.

“I have got evidence to that. So, I am happy to show anybody who wants to. So, I am not a beneficiary.

“But I have borrowed lots of money from banks.”