Farai Jere in court over US$3m ZETDC deal

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BUSINESSMAN and football administrator Farai Jere appeared in court yesterday accused of swindling the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) of over US$3 million in a smart meters supply deal.
Jere appeared before Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube jointly charged with ZETDC engineer Leonard Chisina and information and technology senior manager Freeman Chikonzo.
Through their lawyers, the trio challenged their placement on remand arguing the charge did not disclose an offence. His co-accused pleaded innocence arguing that the Harare businessman fulfilled all the requirements of the deal and that the meters he supplied were actually being used by ZETDC.
They claimed that only three out of 1 151 had faults. The application was, however, dismissed and the three were placed on remand and will be back in court tomorrow for bail application.
It is the State’s case that sometime in 2016 Jere won a tender to supply 1 151 smart meters to ZETDC for US$3 566 878.
According to the State, key elements of the contract required that a factory acceptance test (FAT) of the meters be done at the factory where they were manufactured. Additionally, Jere’s company-Helcraw Electrical — was also obliged to cater for flights, food and accommodation for the delegation to the FAT.
Type tests were also supposed to be done to establish if the meters were 5amps base current and 120amps maximum current in line with the tender specifications.
It is alleged that Jere misrepresented to ZETDC that Secure Meters Pvt Ltd had a manufacturing plant for smart meters and had a head end system in the United Kingdom yet there was none.
On November 24, 2018 three engineers Mapipi, Tshuma and Chisina all from ZETDC and Chikonzo went with Jere to the UK to carry out the FAT.
It is alleged that while in the UK, Jere took the engineers to a warehouse with smart meters and not a factory.
According to the State, Jere produced a fake FAT report to the effect that the meters met the required standards by ZETDC and he asked the four engineers to sign the false FAT report.
As a result, engineer Chisina and Chikonzo signed the false FAT report while engineers Mapipi and Tshuma expressed reservations as no test had been done.
Jere allegedly asked Chisina to talk to the two other engineers and fumed that he could not fund a trip to the United Kingdom only for them to refuse to sign. The engineers, it is claimed, then signed under duress.
In January this year, ZETDC ordered an investigation and it was discovered that no FAT was done and resolved to remove all the meters supplied by Jere from their system resulting in the loss of $US3 566 878.02.

 

 

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