Farai Jere Acquitted

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By Staff Reporter

Harare regional magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa has discharged and acquitted Helcraw Electrical businessman Farai Jere, who was facing fraud charges involving the procurement of smart meters valued at US$3,5 million.

Jere, a soccer administrator, was being charged for defrauding the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) together with the power utility’s employers Leonard Chisina and Freeman Chikonzo.

The trio was discharged at the close of the State’s case.

In her ruling Gofa evidence submitted by the state failed to establish the offence charged.

“The State did not prove anything from the UK to show that there was no manufacturing plant,” she said.

Gofa further ruled that the State also failed to prove the misrepresentation through its witnesses.

“The evidence by the state was manifestly unreliable. The engineers who came during trial supported the defence of the accused,” Gofa ruled.

She went saying that the State witnesses who came testified as defence witnesses.

During the trial, two-state witnesses Roderick Chikwira and police 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 the 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 the FAT tests in England and not in India.

Chikwira also told the court 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 the 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.

Mushoriwa also told the 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 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 pre-paid meters that were dysfunctional.