RBZ funded Zanu PF buses go under the hammer

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Senior Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials are said to have grabbed dozens of buses, part of a huge fleet bought by the Central Bank in 2008, when the buses resurfaced at a Harare Auction this week.

The buses, 35-seater SWARAJ vehicles, some of which had been given out to Zanu PF as part of the central bank’s contribution to the Zanu PF election campaign in 2008 were now being auctioned off at Gift Investments Company after the central bank failed to settle its deal with a South African based company Advance Seed.

RBZ owes the company close to US$1.5 million and the High Court ruled in favour of the company giving it the right to attach the buses to recover outstanding monies.
Each province was supposed to have received at least ten buses from President Robert Mugabe the leader of Zanu PF and most of them were adopted by ZUPCO to ferry party supporters in rural communities.

However, most districts received only two buses and since then people have been wondering where the other buses had disappeared to. Their resurfacing at an auction this week raised eyebrows.

A visit to the auction floor by NewsDay this week found that most of the buses were still relatively new and still carry the Zimbabwean flag colours. They were going for as little as $8 000 each.

Sources said senior central bank officials had bought most of the buses raising fears of high class corruption. One well-known powerful official of the bank is said to have bought no less than 40 of the buses.

Officials at Gift Investments and Ruby Auctions were this week giving statements indicating something was amiss.

Two of the buses were spotted at a Tobacco Auction Floor, where they were being resold to unsuspecting farmers for close to double their auction price.

The judgement that led to the auction was heard at the High Court two months ago.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, who once fought with Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo over control of the more than 285 buses donated to various districts by President Mugabe, was believed to be interested in acquiring part of the fleet.

This was, however, a tip of the iceberg in the ongoing central bank downturn as machinery used by Gono to “donate” to people in the name of empowerment and farm mechanisation continues to be placed under the hammer.

Last month The Deputy Sherriff ordered sale of tractors, vehicles, harrows and other agricultural implements through an auction after the central bank had failed to own up the deal it had engaged with SEED Co.