Tuesday, December 25, 2007

(NEW ZIMBABWE) Gono threatens to name corrupt Mugabe cronies in parliament

Gono threatens to name corrupt Mugabe cronies in parliament
By Torby Chimhashu
Last updated: 12/20/2007 14:14:04

ZIMBABWE’S central bank governor has sensationally said he is ready to name corrupt officials in President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party if he is invited by Parliament. Gono’s extra-ordinary chellenge to Zimbabwe’s MPs came just a week after he accused President Mugabe's cronies of fuelling the country's runaway inflation through illicit dealings.

Gono told the Zanu PF congress last week that some top government and ruling party officials were among "cash barons" blamed for the current cash shortages that have seen customers waiting long hours for scarce money.

And on Wednesday, in an interview with state television after a speech to announce the introduction of higher denomination banknotes to help end the cash crunch, Gono said he was ready to name names.

The central bank chief said he had the support of President Mugabe and would not be intimated by the politicians in his quest to have them brought to justice.

He said: “It's true I know three quarters of those politicians involved in illegal activities. If challenged in circumstances that do not lend me in conflict with my ethics, I could tell the nation now.

"(However) I would be happy to name these people in a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance. If they (Parliamentary Committee) have the guts, they can call me tomorrow, anytime, whether it is 6am, 12 noon or midnight and I would be happy to share with them and the nation. Let them call me and I will name these guys in the presence of the media.”

In comments that will send a chill in the corridors of power, Gono said corrupt Zanu PF officials were “getting away with murder”.

“Those who are perpetrating these malpractices are getting away with murder. Those that are working flat out to have them prosecuted are frustrated as these guys are either fined or let away,” Gono said.

"Imagine someone caught with kilogrammes of gold is allowed to go scot-free. Yet it is not so long ago that the police were complaining about sharks in their gold investigations.

"This governor will not be intimidated. I have the full support of my principal. This time there are no roadblocks. We are saying to cash barons come with your sack or trunk of money and we will talk. There is every reason for them to be very afraid," he said in reference to the new measures he put in place Wednesday to ease cash shortages.

He de-monetised the $200 000 bearer cheques and replaced them with $250 000, $500 000 and $750 000.

The $200 000 bearer cheques will expire on December 31, and after the deadline, Gono said, the bearer cheques "would be useless manure".

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