Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Parliament committee summons Gono

Parliament committee summons Gono

02/09/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE parliamentary committee on agriculture has demanded that Reserve Bank of 
Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon Gono, reveal the names of people who 
benefited from the US$200 million farm mechanisation programme which was 
managed by the central bank.

The RBZ chief has admitted that the scheme, carried out between 2007 and 
2008, contributed to the central bank’s current US$1 billion debt since most 
of the beneficiaries never paid for the equipment.

Legislators suspect the equipment, meant to help newly-resettled farmers who 
did not have the resources make productive use of their land, was given 
undeserving individuals.

“We made a deci­sion as a committee and we advised Parliament administration 
to formally summon the Reserve Bank Governor,” committee chairman Moses Jiri 
(MDC-T) confirmed Sunday.

“I can say that he has only two choices, either to come with the list in 
person or to send the list to Parliament. However, we would prefer it if he 
would bring the list in person.”

In July, Gono clashed with Zanu PF MP Paddy Zhanda when he refused to reveal 
the beneficiaries during a hearing before parliament’s budget committee, 
saying he was barred from making the information public under sections of 
the RBZ Act.

Gono’s refusal to divulge the names of the beneficiaries has received 
backing from an unlikely source – his former adviser-turned-critic 
Munyaradzi Kereke.

According to Kereke, who has previously appealed to MPs to probe Gono for 
alleged corruption, the Farm Mechanisation Programme was a “noble, 
legitimate programme that was not and is not illegal and there is no value 
in trying to discuss it now”.

He added: “These transactions of the State were legitimate, confidential and 
closed and hence must not be looked at to preserve our state security. They 
are and they must forever remain State secrets covered under the Official 
Secrets Act. No one must breach this. Not me. Not Parliament. Not anyone.”

And Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma claimed the committee could not 
investigate the programme unless there was an audit proving funds were 

“For any investigation into this mat­ter to commence, there has to be an 
audit that shows misappropriation of public funds,” Zvoma told the Sunday 
“This has not happened as far as we know. However, even if there was such an 
audit, it’s not the mandate of the agriculture committee to look into the 
matter… this matter happened years ago and so should be looked into by the 
Public Accounts Committee if there is an audit that shows that public funds 
were not used properly.

“The terms of reference for the agriculture committee relate to the current 
national budget. They look into how funds that were allocated to agriculture 
under the current budget are being used. We are shadowing the work of the 
current ministers.”

The RBZ says benefici­aries of the programme included 400 chiefs, 2,000 
headmen, 60,000 villagers and about 3,000 A2 farmers.
Gono says it was not the responsibility of the bank to ensure beneficiaries 
paid for the equipment, insisting the Ministries of Finance and Agriculture 
had to make the necessary follow-ups.

“We distributed the machinery with the assistance of the Ministry of 
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development and the Grain 
Marketing Board,” Gono said when he appeared before the budget committee.

“Beneficiaries received implements according to the sizes of their land and 
the ecological regions in which they are operating.
“The GMB and the Ministry identified the beneficiaries. They were the ones 
who had information on the farmers and their production records.” 


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