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‘No gold reserves were ever stolen during my tenure’- Gono



FORMER Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono (pictured) says Zanu PF spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa is peddling “blatant lies” when he says the country’s gold reserves were stolen as they were supposedly sold to Saudi Arabia without payment.

In a public statement, Gono says what Mutsvangwa was referring to during his ruling party media briefing on Monday was a US$150 million 2006 jewelry deal between RBZ and a Saudi company which the central bank leveraged with a South African Bank to secure a US$600 million line of credit for the country to get much-needed imports like electricity, fertiliser, fuel and other things at the height of Western economic sanctions on Zimbabwe imposed in 2002.

Targeted sanctions choked the government and its operations, he says.

“The Saudi contract was going to be fulfilled over a 12-24 months from incremental gold coming from the ground. We had done our homework as far as who the off-takers of the facility were going to be. It was not a blind shot so to speak,” Gono said.

“To then mislead the public by saying RBZ lost the nation’s “gold reserves” is surely technically wrong and dangerous, worse when we seek to badmouth and besmirch the dead. Inga zvinonzi “wafa wanaka” wani? Why this penchant towards hate speech against those you were with in the bush but never against Ian Smith? Nobody has bothered to find out how the RBZ was being run during the 15 years of sanctions and what some of us found in whatever records remained in there.”

Gono says Mutsvangwa was not even around when the deal was sealed as he was Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to China in Beijing at the time and does not have facts and know the truth of what actually happened.

He says Mutsvangwa and others have previously sent authorities on wild goose chases on the urban legend, including by getting the Anti-Corruption Commission of Zimbabwe to probe the issue; wasting public funds in the process.

The country’s anti-graft unit investigated the issue, as they interviewed him and his successor John Mangudya, but found nothing wrong with the multi-million gold deal, he adds.

Gono says if such brazen lies go unchallenged they would do irreparable damage to people’s reputations through character assassination and systematic misrepresentation of the facts.

He further says people like Mutsvangwa, who happens to be his uncle, do not know what they are talking about and how dire the situation was when he took over at the helm of the RBZ in December 2003 as there were no reserves at the bank to talk about.

Gono says when he took over in December 2003, the RBZ was broke and he was running on empty from day one.

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