Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s former subsidiary, Fiscorp, which handled the Farm Mechanisation Programme between 2007 and 2008, has challenged former legislator, Mr Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and self-exiled former Cabinet minister Mr Saviour Kasukuwere, to prove that they repaid the loans through which they received equipment under the scheme.
It also emerged that Mr Kasukuwere got an assortment of farm implements and not just two tractors that he claimed to have paid for.
This comes as former RBZ Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, has set the record straight to say the programme was not corrupt.
Responding to earlier claims by United Kingdom-based commentator, Dr Alex Magaisa, Dr Gono said last week that the programme, which was carried out during a difficult period, started as a loan and was later changed to a grant after the then Government of National Unity had approved the switch.
And yesterday, former Fiscorp chief executive Mr Mathews Kunaka said no beneficiary was invoiced to repay the equipment and challenged Mr Kasukuwere and Mr Bhasikiti to provide details showing their repayments.
He said Fiscorp never issued invoices and beneficiaries never knew the amount they owed, but only signed for delivery of the equipment.
Mr Kunaka’s response followed claims by Mr Bhasikiti and Mr Kasukuwere, who on Twitter said they repaid their loans.
Commenting on his Twitter handle last week, Mr Bhasikiti said; “Those who are saying farm mechanisation was for free are telling blatant lies. I paid $10 billion for mine, which was worked as the United States dollar equivalent then.”
On his Twitter handle, Mr Kasukuwere said: “I think the RBZ should invoice and collect the money. These are public funds and no one should put up useless defence for looting. I paid for the two tractors that I got and I am happy to receive an invoice from the RBZ if I owe them anything.”
In an interview yesterday, Mr Kunaka said he was not aware of any payment that could have been made for the farm mechanisation, as no valuation had been done at the time of distribution.
He said claims by Mr Kasukuwere to have repaid his loan through a former Fiscorp staffer, Mr Moses Chundu, were preposterous since he was a low ranking official, who served the firm briefly before joining the Office of the then Prime Minister, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, during the inclusive Government.
“I am keen to establish how such payments were made because I am not aware of any,” said Mr Kunaka.
“If they did, they must produce invoice against which payment was made, we will also be keen to see the receipts.
“We would want to know how were the payments made. Was it through a bank transfer, if so, we would want to know the bank and account number into which payment went and date of payment.”
Mr Kunaka said it was strange for one to say payment was made when Fiscorp had not prepared invoices.
The Herald has also seen correspondences from the then Fiscorp general manager, Mrs Winnie Mushipe, professing ignorance about claims by the two politicians that they repaid their loans.
It also emerged that the equipment that Mr Bhasikiti received was worth US$43 496 and he should have paid $217,5 trillion and not $10 billion given the prevailing exchange rate at the time.
Contrary to Mr Kasukuwere’s claims that he paid for his two tractors, The Herald is reliably informed that he got an assortment of farm equipment valued at US$159 208.
Some of the implements Mr Kasukuwere got included a disc harrow T12 (US$13 253), Massey Ferguson tractor (US$42 450), Disc plough (US$8 700), a four-wheel drive tractor (US$24 000), Sprayer Gaspardo (US$16 118), Boom sprayer (US$5 967), Generator 30 KVA (US$5 200), Three disc plough CMEC US$8 200 and a Case tractor (US$35 320.)
Mr Kasukuwere’s brothers also took an array of farm implements.
Stan Kasukuwere got farm implements worth US$423 246.
The implements Stan got included two-disc harrow (US$20 000), a combine harvester (US$206 892), a tractor SAME (US$38 000), another tractor (US$25 405) and another tractor (US$26 654).
He also got a fertiliser spreader (US$16 118) and two seed drill (US$20 000.)
Mr Kasukuwere’s other brother, Tichaona, got equipment worth US$55 291, including a New Holland tractor, two disc harrows and a generator.
Tongai Kasukuwere, another brother of his, got farm implements to the tune of US$396 539, which included six row planter, boom sprayer, combine harvesters, integral seed drill, SAME Explorer tractor, three motor bikes, John Deere wheat head, maize head, Baine standard disc harrow, fertiliser spreader among others.
Mr Kasukuwere’s other brother, Dickson Mafios, got equipment to the tune of US$41 020.
In his clarification last week, Dr Gono said the RBZ Debt Assumption Act did not contain the $200 million under farm mechanisation.