Gideon Gono Steals Money from NGO coffers to Fund Mugabe and Build Himself a 112 Roomed Manion

ZIMBABWE – HARARE – It has been revealed that Gideon Gono as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe abused funds meant to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in 2008 to aid Zanu PF’s political campaign. The Zimbabwe Telegraph reports.

This was revealed on Friday when The Global Fund pledged $37.9 million to assist the fight against tuberculosis, malaria and HIV, resuming support after getting assurances from the new unity government that the money would not be misused the Zanu PF way of doing things.

The fund said last year Zimbabwe’s central bank had confiscated $7.3 million in 2007 meant for health programmes. The head of the Global Fund’s Africa Unit, Fareed Abdullah, said the money, previously managed by the state-appointed National Aids Council, would now be overseen by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Zimbabwe.

“We’re glad that today marks a turning point in the relationship between Zimbabwe and the Global Fund, after the troubled history of the past 18 months,” Abdullah said at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

“The reason behind getting the UNDP as the principal recipient is to do with that history, no doubt.”

Abdullah said apart from helping in the fight against HIV/Aids, the money would also be committed to tuberculosis and malaria programmes.

Tsvangirai said the grant showed increasing confidence in the unity government he formed with rival President Robert Mugabe in February in a bid to end a political and economic crisis.

“There have been a number of skeptics. I can assure you that this government is indeed consolidating and is beginning to respond to the needs of the people, he said.

Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, although the rate has been coming down in recent years.

The country’s economic woes — which critics blame on Mugabe’s policies — have destroyed the public health system, a factor highlighted by last year’s cholera outbreak which killed almost 5,000 people.

Fri 17 December 2004
HARARE - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor and President Robert Mugabe's
right hand-man, Gideon Gono, is building a 112-roomed mansion, with four
helipads in Harare's plush suburb of Borrowdale.

Architects told ZimOnline that they expected the opulent structure,
whose interior furnishings are mostly imported, to cost more than US$5
million (about Z$25 billion) on completion. US$5 million is enough to build
and equip at least four primary schools in Zimbabwe.

The house, whose construction began in 2001, when Gono was still head
of the partly government-owned Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, is located at
Number 2, Luna Road on Sunlands Farm, which is part of Borrowdale Estate.

Gono could not be reached for comment last night. The central bank
governor - who has led a government crackdown against corrupt company
executives and politicians who looted public funds to finance lavish
lifestyles - is however said to have denied having anything to do with the
Borrowdale mansion.

But government Deeds and Registry office records shown to ZimOnline
indicate that the farm on which the imposing castle-like house stands is
registered in Gono's name under deeds registration number 6225/00.

And sources said Gono had also been seen at the site on several
occasions checking on progress. The house is likely to be finished sometime
early next year, sources said.

"Mr Gono supervises the construction himself," said one source who did
not want to be named.

According to sources on the site, Gono, who is also Mugabe's personal
financial adviser, had demanded the faces of his wife, children and himself
be carved onto the house's stone castle tower.

And among some of the features of the beautiful mansion are an art
gallery, billiard room, library, a 60-guest dining room, servants' quarters,
and plasma televisions in virtually every room. The grounds boast a
magnificent swimming pool, with three islands and a gazebo.

The house, believed to be the biggest in Harare, has a Victorian
shingle style. Sources said the interior is expansive, but contains many
classical elements.

"The original quarter-sawn golden oak woodwork is magnificent," said a
source. He added: "The home is furnished with museum quality oil paintings,
furniture, and family heirlooms."

Under the Gono-led anti-corruption drive, several top ruling ZANU PF
party officials have been arrested mostly for siphoning foreign currency out
of the country.

But South African lawyers acting for Finance Minister Christopher
Kuruneri, arrested for illegally externalising foreign currency to buy
properties here, told a Cape Town court that Gono helped Kuruneri get the
hard cash he is accused of siphoning out of Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline

Billy Rautenbach - Making money exploiting Mugabe's Corrupt Regime

At a time when all but a few hundred of Zimbabwe's white farmers have been kicked off their land, fugitive businessman Billy Rautenbach has been handed a vast tract in the south, left in trust by former Nationalist leader Joshua Nkomo to develop black agriculture.

Some black farmers there claim Rautenbach has interfered with their ranching and is trying to push them out.

This was revealed in a documentary in the Dispatches slot on Britain's Channel 4 last Monday.

The film also shows how a British company, Camec plc, whose chairman is former Test cricketer Phil Edmonds, was involved in mining deals in Zimbabwe which the Movement for Democratic Change claims funded Zanu-PF violence during the election period last year.

Rautenbach is a major shareholder in the opaque shareholdings of Camec, which has periodically talked up its share price in London and made some public statements about operations which contradicted the reality. Its assets are far fewer than regularly reported in the British press, and at present it has only one which is active, in Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rautenbach is on the US and EU sanctions list, which means he cannot travel there nor can citizens of those countries trade with him, but he bankrolls some of Camec's activities in Zimbabwe, and uses a Camec-connected company's bank account at Jyske Bank, in British crown colony Gibraltar.

South Africa's prosecuting authority applied for Rautenbach's extradition from Zimbabwe more than two years ago for trial on massive customs fraud in SA, but this request was ignored by the former Zanu-PF government.

Rautenbach has just completed drilling tests in platinum sites in central Zimbabwe wrested from Anglo Platinum by the former government last year.

CAMEC CEO Andrew Groves, schooled in KwaZulu-Natal, confirmed the company had paid President Robert Mugabe $100 million (R7.9 billion) for the concessions which Anglo Plats was forced to hand over to protect the development of its platinum mine in central Zimbabwe.

It was this money, several top MDC leaders claim, which helped fund the election violence last year in which about 200 MDC supporters were killed and hundreds injured.

Extraordinarily, Rautenbach has been given access, via a majority share in a new company, Cutstar Investments (Pvt Ltd), to more than 300 000ha of Nuanetsi Ranch bought by Nkomo in 1989 and held in a trust to promote black agriculture.

Dozens of smaller-scale black ranchers have established herds of beef cattle on Nuanetsi and they told Channel 4 Rautenbach was harassing them. They claimed their operations were at risk, that their fences were torn down and their water supplies interrupted.

Rancher Moffat Ndou told Channel 4 journalist Aidan White: "We were invited to a meeting at (Nuanetsi) ranch headquarters. At this meeting we had Billy Rautenbach, we had the managing director of Nuanetsi ranch and we were then informed that Nuanetsi ranch had got into a joint venture.

"He (Rautenbach) said (to us) 'what part of f**k off do you not understand?'"

Another rancher, Terry Mkowa, also resisting eviction efforts, said: "He (Rautenbach says he is well-connected... you cannot do anything to me. I am a powerful man."

The pro-Zanu-PF Sunday Mail ran a full front page on July 19 headlined "Mega bucks project", which claimed a mystery investor was pumping $1 billion into Nuanetsi and part of the development would be the establishment of 100 000ha of sugar cane to be turned into ethanol to reduce Zimbabwe's fuel bill.

However, water experts say there is not enough water to support so much sugar. "Even if all local water available was dammed, there wouldn't be nearly enough, so this project is just talk," said a veteran farmer.

Rautenbach is the "mystery investor". He went into the DRC to take over state mining company Gecamines when Mugabe's troops entered the war there in 1998, but was sacked by late DRC president Laurent Kabila, who accused him of stealing the state's share of the cobalt joint venture.

After Kabila's assassination, Rautenbach went on to develop a cobalt site given to him by the DRC, but was deported two years ago. He sold his DRC assets to CAMEC and continues to run its one cobalt mining project from Harare, say some of his staffers.

CAMEC says it has frozen Rautenbach's shareholding in the company, because Rautenbach is on the sanctions list, but its operations in Zimbabwe, at least in platinum drilling, are organised by Rautenbach and financed from the Yske Bank account in Gibraltar, belonging to one of its subsidiaries.

The results of the drilling of Anglo Plats's former concessions produced predictably good results, but mining insiders say it would take several years and hundreds of millions of rands of investment before CAMEC could produce any platinum.

Rautenbach claims he has made good contacts with the MDC since the formation of the inclusive government. Two important members, Finance Minister Tendai Biti and deputy agriculture minister designate, Roy Bennett, don't seem to agree.

"What I know of him is not complimentary. I wouldn't want to be his friend."

Bennett added: "There has to be an audit of everything. Every single ministry within Zimbabwe has to be audited and basically it needs to be done in a transparent and open manner. Any dealings that are transparent and open for the benefit of the country and benefit of the people of Zimbabwe will be honoured.

"But any deals that can be seen to have political patronage or political involvement definitely will be undone."

He confirmed this would apply to CAMEC as well.

South African prosecutors believe they have proof that Rautenbach attempted to have charges against him withdrawn, or reduced, by sending one of his emissaries with $45 000 to former police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

This was contained in an affidavit made by Glen Agliotti, accused of murdering SA mining magnate Brett Kebble.

South African prosecutors have in the past year met Rautenbach in three countries to discuss a possible plea bargain.

Rautenbach tells associates in Zimbabwe that he met the South Africans to discuss dropping charges.

Channel 4 gave both Rautenbach and Edmonds the opportunity to answer questions. Both declined. - Independent Foreign Service