via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Mugabe, Gono helped themselves to Gaddafi’s millions by Itai Gwatidzo Mushekwe/ Mary-Kate Kahari
President Robert Mugabe and his close personal banker, himself a former central bank governor, Gideon Gono, have allegedly helped themselves to millions of dollars invested in Zimbabwe by late Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, The Telescope News reported.
Mugabe and Gono, are easily among the richest and most influential figures in the country, yet they have been earning modest salaries as civil servants, leaving many shell-shocked at their source of mysterious wealth. During the formation and first few months of the Governmnet of National Unity (GNU), with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai a few years ago, Mugabe even went to the length of claiming that he was earning as little as $100, just like all government workers at the time, which turned out to be a blue lie.
Government officials and sources within the financial intelligence department of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), allege that Mugabe and his personal banker have siphoned for personal use, undisclosed amounts of hard currency running into millions, which Gaddafi had moved to Zimbabwe before his assassination on 20 October 2011 in preparation for possible exile in Harare.
“Mugabe and Gono are the biggest beneficiaries of Gaddafi’s miliions, which started trickling into the country in 2002, during the days of an opaque oil deal they made in Tripoli when we were facing acute fuel shortages,” said an RBZ financial intelligence department employee. “We can never get to know how much exactly Libya under Gaddafi invested in Zimbabwe, but it can top up to $500 million. The oil deal itself was valued at $360 million, and Gaddafi went on to demand vast tracks of land and property to guarantee the deal. During that time of crisis, Libya was supplying about 70% of our fuel needs. Gaddafi also invested a lot of capital in banking, construction, meat processing, and agriculture. Tripoli owns a chain of farms in the fertile Mazowe area through frontman, and eversince Gaddafi was desposed, we believe the top chefs including Mugabe have taken some of this wealth for their own.”
Mugabe and his wife Grace own a thriving dairy business, with state of the art machinery imported from Germany, in a sanctions busting move as the two still remain on the European Union (EU), sanctions list. The German firm Wilhelm Guth Ventiltechnik has been supplying components, to the couple’s diary for four years through the European company’s subsidiary in South Africa, Guth South Africa, causing an outcry over their tactics of evading EU punishment. Likewise, Gono also runs a massive chicken business, which he aims to propel him to become “Africa’s first chicken billionaire”.
“The source of their funds is questionable, how can they have amassed so much wealth from thin air? There is no doubt, that some of Gaddafi’s millions could have been forfeited into secret foreign accounts, from where they can finance these projects,” a ministry of finance staffer said.
The RBZ yesterday said Gono, had left the books of the central bank clean, and that they could not comment on his behalf, because he had left the bank.
As former governor, Gono had unlimited access to foreign accounts of companies, and had priviledged information about the country’s foreign currency reserves.
Gaddafi, who has previously urged Zimbabwe’s Muslims to wage a Jihad against the small white population remaining in the country, has considerable financial investments in Zimbabwe all done by front companies. Through the Libyan Foreign Bank, the late militant leader owns some 96,6 million shares which represent 14,12% of the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) Holdings, making him the biggest individual shareholder. Government owns about 110 million shares translating to 16,08% of the banking group’s shareholding.
They are unconfirmed reports that the bank, once headed by Gono himself is now reportedly wholly controlled by a South African bank with a reported majority shareholding of 35%, which has links to Mugabe and Gono.
Intelligence sources, this week said Mugabe and Gono were making use of another mysterious banker, who jointly manages Mugabe’s foreign assets in silence with Gono, one Enoch Kamushinda, who is based in Malaysia and believed to have some control over the Zanu PF leader’s Asian bank accounts, where they allege the “Gaddafi loot” is stashed.
Kamushinda is a successful businessman in his own right, and was the former chief executive officer of Metropolitan Bank, in the capital.
Muammar Gaddafi had made over $200 billion from Libya’s rich oil supply
It has also now come to light that, Mugabe had offered Gaddafi, a safe haven in Zimbabwe where he was going to be another of his many “special guests”, whose welfare and security was going to be the downtrodden taxpayers responsibility, as pressure mounted for him to make a dignified exit from power during the Libyan crisis.
” If Gaddafi had made a fast move, he could have been alive and staying at an upmarket mansion in Harare’s plush Borrowdale suburb, formerly belonging to Grace Mugabe and sold to the Libyan leader in 2002 for £3 million,” intelligence sources said.
Mugabe’s wife dubbed the 30-room three storey palace “Gracelands” in self-honour, which is now being used as the Libyan embassy, but had been earmarked to become Gaddafi’s safe haven.
Gaddafi could have joined the likes of exiled Ethiopian autocrat Mengistu Haile Mariam who fled to the country in 1991 after being found guilty of genocide, together with one of the World’s most wanted war criminals, Protais Mpiranya, a former head of Rwanda’s Presidential Guard during the 1994 genocide, who is also roaming Scott free in Harare.
Western countries led by France, Britain and the United States began a military campaign in 2011 targeting Libyan army facilities, after Gaddafi launched a brutal crackdown to quell an armed rebellion by rebels in Bengazi, some 965km east of the capital Tripoli. Media reports in Russia at the time suggested that France was willing to meet Gaddafi’s conditions by unfreezing his assets and offering immunity from the United Nations war tribunal in The Hague if he had ceded power peacefully.
According to CelebrityNetWorth.com, a popular and influential celebrity finance outlet founded in October 2009 in Los Angeles California, Gaddafi may have had a personal net worth north of $200 billion. This net worth would have made Gaddafi perhaps the richest person to have ever lived in history, the website said.
“Muammar Gaddafi was able to build his massive personal wealth thanks to a violent and domineering control over Libya’s natural resources. Specifically their rich supply of oil. Libya has the largest supply of oil in Africa and the tenth largest in the world,” reads a report on the website. “Gaddafi used Libya’s oil to print money for 40 years! During that time he spread his money around the globe through family members, Swiss bank accounts, real estate and investments. Estimated at $200 billion, he had enough to give $30,000 to each of Libya’s 6.6 million citizens. At the beginning of the Lybian conflict, authorities discovered and seized roughly $67 billion of Gaddafi’s wealth hidden in bank accounts around the globe. England, France, Italy and Germany seized another $30 billion and the Obama administration found a staggering $37 billion in the United States. Investigators suspect that Gaddafi hid an additional $30 billion around the world.”