By Bulawayo Correspondent
ZAPU has called for the arrest of former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono and the simultaneous setting up of a commission of inquiry into the extravagant Farm Mechanisation Programme undertaken by the central bank 2007.
The programme largely benefitted politicians, court judges, businesspersons and members of the clergy, among groups with close links to Zanu PF.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com weekend, Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa also called for an inquiry into the conduct of judges who took part in the fraudulent process.
Last week, United Kingdom based lawyer and prolific blogger, Alex Magaisa threw the cat among the pigeons with a damning expose’ of individuals who creamed off the struggling apex bank in loans parcelled out through the highly partisan programme.
Beneficiaries of the scheme were excused from repaying the loans through passing of the RBZ Debt Assumption Act which transferred the burden of repayment to the taxpayer.
Magaisa’s blunt expose’ has thrown both Gono and beneficiaries into a state of panic with the ex-central bank chief stammering to justify the patently scandalous scheme.
Said Maphosa: “We call for a commission of inquiry to establish what transpired resulting in the sucking in of so much of the people’s money.
“We call for investigations and possible prosecution of former Reserve Bank governor Gono for abuse of office.
“We demand investigations into the judiciary involvement in this and possible action taken against the compromised officers.”
The Zapu spokesperson said the probe should also be extended to parliamentarians, the executive and ruling party officials who corruptly benefitted from the scheme.
Maphosa said those implicated in the scandal should repay the loans.
“We demand the same scrutiny of the legislature and executive. We demand repayment in full of the loans by every recipient. We believe that this is one huge scandal which could even be much bigger than Willowgate,” he said.
Willowgate scandal, which happened between 1988-89, involved the illegal resale of subsidised vehicles purchased for various government officials.
The scandal which was exposed by a local daily, resulted in the rare resignations of five cabinet ministers.
Maphosa added, “Nothing short of a properly constituted Commission of Inquiry must look into this scandal and bring closure to what appears to have been one of the biggest fraudulent activities by the regime.”
He questioned the integrity, moral worthiness and professionalism of senior civil servants who benefitted from the free state resources.
“The same applied to the judiciary. With the judges benefitting from the loot, they absconded their function to uphold the law, instead participating in the corrupt acts of looting of the country’s Reserve Bank and defrauding taxpayers.”
“Sitting members of parliament and serving judges who benefited from this particular loot will never in this lifetime interrogate, let alone question the legality of the scheme as well as assist in the recovery of the huge debts owed to the state. Their silence was guaranteed.
“Zapu notes the blatant, well calculated and choreographed plan to buy the silence of both the legislative and judicial arms of the Zimbabwean state by deliberately compromising the gullible members of Parliament and those in the judiciary.”