Tuesday, July 29, 2014

(NEWZIMBABWE) Biti complicit in RBZ grand theft: Kereke
Strategic alliance ... Former RBZ chief Gideon Gono and his defence lawyer, Tendai Biti

09/01/2014 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

BIKITA West legislator, Munyaradzi Kereke, has claimed that opposition MDC-T secretary general, Tendai Biti, was an accomplice in criminal activities at the central bank and cannot, therefore, act as legal counsel to former governor Gideon Gono.

Kereke wants the Constitutional Court to order a probe into his allegations that Gono looted about $40 million in State funds from the central bank.

The former RBZ chief, set to become a Zanu PF senator and long considered a confidant and financial adviser to President Robert Mugabe, recently pulled a surprise by hiring Biti to defend him in a development that also cost the editor of the State-run Herald newspaper his job.

Now Kekere, once a top advisor to Gono, claims the former finance minister had his fingers deep in the national cookie jar “which makes him a suspect and witness” in the case. Kereke says he is working on legal processes to have Biti barred from representing Gono.

“I am in the process of making the necessary legal applications for Biti to recuse himself from representing the second respondent to the extent that he is a legitimate witness on some of the matters I am raising in my application as much as he is also a suspect in the criminal case,” Kereke claims.

“A point of law to note is that second respondent and former minister of finance Biti have a common criminal case which they must together answer to.”

He said Biti had personally withdrawn International Monetary Fund (MF) cash given to the government and moved the money into a privately owned bank that later collapsed.

“The underlying background to this is that then minister of finance Tendai Biti, who now acts as legal counsel for (Gono) withdrew $150 million in funds from an RBZ account held at IMF without even the knowledge of the central bank,” Kereke averred. He claimed the money seemed to “thin” progressively as it was moved from one bank to another and later abused.

“Some of the funds were later abused at the combined hands of the second respondent and the ministry of finance under the express direction of Biti. The forensic audit report on Interfin Bank as already presented to the honourable court confirms this abuse,” he said.

During campaigns ahead of the general elections last year, President Mugabe claimed that the government was failing to account for at least $500 million in IMF cash.

“We had half a billion dollars from special drawing rights but we do not know what he (minister Biti) used it for. No money went to Bulawayo including Gweru, Mutare and Harare which came later. We also want to boost agriculture and mining,” Mugabe told supporters.

Biti however rejected the charges claiming instead that he had stopped Mugabe and his lieutenants in Zanu PF from pillaging the cash.

“They wanted to loot the fund and give it to their cronies. They were used to just taking like broiler chickens that feed like there is no tomorrow,” charged the former finance minister.

“The idea behind allocating the money through banks was to stop Mugabe from parcelling the money to his friends and relatives. It went too industry, infrastructure and that is what Zimbabweans are looking for.”
Meanwhile Kereke has also hit back at Gono's accusations that he is mentally unstable, declaring he was “extremely” sound.

“Quite to the contrary, I professionally hand-held the second respondent for at least 8 years as his advisor at the RBZ writing all monetary policy statements for Zimbabwe, carrying out macro and micro-economic policy research as well as preparing virtually all speeches for the second respondent and, more telling, assisting him with at least 99.9% of submissions for the whole of “his” academic work for the doctoral studies,” Kereke said.

He added: “If I were to be a near-lunatic as is suggested by (Gono) then it would be the two of us with him given that he comfortably took advice for eight years virtually on a daily basis from the alleged mentally retarded person in me.”
Approaching the ConCourt, Kereke added, showed he was a “diligent lunatic”.

Suggestions he was mentally unstable were“… false, provocative, malicious, cold-hearted and demeaning but amply telling on (Gono’s) own very advanced state of derangement, typical of fraudsters when cornered”.

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