Zimbabwe Central Bank Stole Cash to Stay Solvent

Governor admits pilfering private accounts to keep ministries running
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 20, 2009 11:26 AM CDT
Vengai Chigaramumba laughs while holding the new 10,000,000 dollar note introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Jan. 18, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Zimbabwe's central bank governor admits he took money from bank accounts of private businesses and foreign aid groups without permission to keep the country's cash-strapped ministries running. Gideon Gono said today he loaned money from the private hard-currency accounts to the government. He says the accounts will be reimbursed when the loans are repaid.

Gono has been harshly criticized for raiding foreign-currency accounts, among other questionable practices. In his statement, Gono pleaded with his detractors to ease up. Now that Zimbabwe has a new coalition government dedicated to reversing its severe economic decline, Gono says it's time "to let bygones be bygones."