Revealed: How Gono met US VP

HARARE - Details have emerged that former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono, mysteriously travelled to the US in 2006 while under Washington’s travel embargo where he met current vice President and then senator Joe Biden to lobby for the removal of sanctions.

The Daily News on Sunday has also established that Gono was busy at the time secretly meeting high levels officials including former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan to try and use his influence to persuade the US to remove sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his close associates.

At the time, Gono was on the sanctions list together with Mugabe and many others close to the 90-year-old Zimbabwe leader and it could not be established how he managed to evade travel sanctions to meet Biden.

Gono’s secret meeting with Biden and other US senators in the Senate Gold Room, Capitol Hill came to light this week after a Chicago man was charged with illegally lobbying for the removal of sanctions on behalf of Mugabe.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Gregory Turner, 71, faces trial next month on charges he tried to persuade the US government officials — including an Illinois state senator and two US representatives from Chicago — to push for the lifting of the sanctions imposed in 2003 on Mugabe and other top Zimbabwean government officials.

In the filing, Turner’s attorneys asked US District Judge Elaine Bucklo to allow them to present evidence at trial of an off-the-radar “welcome reception” in 2006 for Gono, who was on a list of “specially designated nationals” targeted for US sanctions since 2001.

Biden, had co-sponsored the reception even though he was one of the key sponsors of the sanctions legislation five years earlier, according to the defence filing.

The Chicago Tribune reports that: “Numerous members of the Congressional Black Caucus also attended the meeting in a reception room on the Senate side of the US Capitol to hear Gono speak about the effect of the sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe, the filing said.

“No cameras were allowed at the function, but a “short video” was secretly made by one of the attendees, according to the filing.

“Biden is seen on video welcoming Gono…and shaking Gono’s hand,” the filing said.

“News of the warm reception Gono received soon reached Turner, who at the time was in Zimbabwe working with a private organisation aimed at helping the people of the impoverished nation, according to the filing.”

US embassy officials could not be reached for comment yesterday on how Gono evaded the celebrated tight security in the United States.

The ex RBZ governor refused to comment on the issue when confronted by the Daily News on Sunday yesterday at the memorial service of the late Zanu PF stalwart, Kumbirai Kangai.

Gono addressed senators and the Black American Caucus where he reportedly spoke on the history of sanctions, their effect on Zimbabweans, economy and investment.

Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba was also not available to verify if Gono travelled to the US for the mission with Mugabe’s permission.

Gono is currently embroiled in an acrimonious legal battle with his former advisor Munyaradzi Kereke who accuses him of corruption and misappropriation of funds during his term of office.

Kereke wants the Anti Corruption Commission to probe him but the commission is objecting saying there is nothing to investigate.

The Daily News on Sunday has been told that when the matter finally unravels in court, the behind the scenes initiatives taken by Gono during the time will be revealed.

 

Comments (2)

Gono ndispy wa america. Asi hamuzvizive

HARARE - 1 September 2014

Mixing oil with water in the article, but however your paper blindly acknowledges that for sure sanctions are in place against Zimbabwe , and we have local traitors who advocated for the evil sanctions now crying about the economy , -chematama aqnd his idiotic supporters.

reason - 1 September 2014

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