Friday, February 24, 2012

(TALKZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai ‘fraud’ sucks in Biti, Makuvise

Tsvangirai ‘fraud’ sucks in Biti, Makuvise
Posted by By Our reporter at 23 February, at 00 : 17 AM

FINANCE Minister, Mr Tendai Biti and Zimbabwe Ambassador to Germany, Mr Hebson Mukuvise have come under the spotlight as documents show them as involved in a US$1.5 million investigation involving Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The documents show that Minister Biti (left) held a number of meetings with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) top officials and the Prime Minister over the purchase of the Mr Tsvangirai’s official residence.

As reflected in minutes of the meetings and several letters of the discussions on the urgent need to release funds to purchase the Prime Minister’s official house in 2009, Minister Biti wrote to RBZ Governor advising that he had concurred with Prime Minister that RBZ can release US$1.5 million the PM’s official residence.

According to the letter written by Mr Biti to Dr Gono, the US$1.5 million was released on condition that the finance minister would pay RBZ an equivalent amount.

But Mr Biti released another US$1.5 million to buy the same house that RBZ had paid for.

Dr Gono wrote a letter directing the transfer of US$1.5 million into Tony West Real Estate’s account at ZB Bank without going to tender.

Asked to comment, Minister Biti, who is outside the country, admitted to ZBC News that he gave an assurance to Dr Gono that treasury would pay back the amount.

Mr Biti, however, said the RBZ Governor did not give him feedback on whether he had released the US$1.5 million or not.

The finance minister said he would clarify the issue on Monday.

In separate documents obtained by ZBC News, Arthstone and Cook allegedly connived with Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Germany, Mr Makuvise (right) to use the legal firm’s account to stash US$1.250 million which was ‘fraudulently’ deducted from the US$1.5 million released by RBZ for the Prime Minister’s house.

In another development, Mr Makuvise wrote six letters instructing Interfin Bank to transfer US$120,000 in batches of US$10,000 and US$20,000 to buy his personal stand in Shawasha Hills.

Speaking from Germany, the Ambassador scoffed at reports and documents implicating him in the scandal, saying they are just ‘petty issues’ which he cannot discuss.

However, the last transaction history shows that out of the US$1.5 million released by the RBZ, only US$570,000 was left in the account by July last year and how the bulk of the cash was used remains a mystery.

PM Tsvangirai’s party, the Movement for Democratic Change, issued a statement denying the charges, saying that a Zanu-PF faction was behind a negative publicity against Mr Tsvangirai.

President Mugabe, however, warned against rushing to conclusions regarding the issue.

“What we don’t want is people getting arrested on the basis of evidence which is not clear and on the basis of inadequate evidence,” he said.

MDC spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said the “so-called double-dipping scandal is nothing but part of a sting operation to collapse the GNU [Government of National Unity] and rush for elections without agreeing on key reforms”.

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