Sunday, June 05, 2005

new excuse for stealing

The latest claim is that the money was not stolen by the finance minister after all:

Zimbabwe's central bank governor has admitted authorising a bank transfer by the country's former finance minister who is on trial for corruption, a newspaper said on Saturday.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono, who is spearheading an anti-corruption drive, was speaking at the trial of Chris Kuruneri, accused of siphoning scarce foreign currency out of the country.

Relating the circumstances of the money transfer in the Harare High Court Friday, Gono said Kuruneri had actually saved the country from a "national catastrophe", the state-controlled Herald said.

Kuruneri is charged with illegally transferring R5,2-million out of the country between 2002 and 2004 through a local commercial bank, which Gono headed
before becoming central bank governor. Kuruneri denies any wrongdoing.

In his testimony on Friday, Gono said it was he who had asked Kuruneri to lend the commercial bank 500 000 dollars in 2002 in the national interest.

The bank later authorised the transfer of an equivalent sum in South African rands to Kuruneri's accounts in South Africa, the Herald said.

Of course, what was the urgent national interest has not yet been explained...

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