By Desmond Chingarande
The State yesterday closed its case against Helcraw Electrical businessman Farai Jere, who is accused of fraud in the procurement of smart meters valued at US$3,5 million.
Jere, a soccer administrator, is being charged with defrauding the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) together with the power utility’s employers Leornad Chisina and Freeman Chikonzo.
The State’s two witnesses Roderick Chikwira and investigating officer Themba Musekiwa were the last to testify in a trial that started early this year.
Chikwira, who was the ZETDC loss control officer during the time the meters were procured, told court that the only issue with the accused persons was that they went for a Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) in England instead of India where there is a factory for Secure Meters company.
Jere’s lawyer Lewis Uriri told Chikwira that his client’s contract had asked him to do a FAT tests in England and not in India.
Chikwira also told court that the FAT report produced by the trio was fake, but however claimed that he was not qualified to rate the report since he was not an engineer.
“I cannot interpret some of the engineering documents, I am an accountant. But what I can say is that there was no manufacturing industry in UK but in India,” Chikwira said.
Jere, however, said Chikwira was not a credible witness since he failed to interpret what was on the report written by ZETDC engineers.
The investigation officer Mushoriwa also told court that what he was saying in court was his opinion since most of the issues he investigated were from the witnesses.
He said the issue of travelling to England instead of India was as a result of a meeting that was approved by ZETDC.
The investigation officer, however failed to explain the prejudice suffered by ZETDC but only said there were some meters that were not working.
The defence, however elected to submit the application for discharge on October 1 and the State represented by Tafara Chirambira and Tendai Shonai said it would submit its response on October 8.
Magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa will deliver her ruling on October 15.
Follow Desmond on Twitter @DChingarande1