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

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