I’m being fought: Jere
HARARE businessman and CAPS United Football Club owner Farai Jere, facing charges of swindling the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) of over US$3,5 million, says the allegations were trumped up to sabotage a US$28 million contract his firm, Helcraw Electrical, is shortlisted for.
Jere is jointly charged with ZETDC employees Leonard Chisina and Freeman Chikonzo.
The businessman, who is also Premier Soccer League chairperson, was arrested on Friday at a funeral at Glen Forest Cemetery and spent the weekend in remand prison after his initial arraignment in court on Saturday.
He was back in the dock yesterday and claimed the allegations against him were made by a competitor, ZESIT, which he said was under investigation for hijacking Zesa projects. Zesa is the holding company of ZETDC.
Jere’s assertion came after the State opposed the CAPS United owner’s admission to bail.
When the case’s investigation officer, Chief Superintendent Themba Mushoriwa, was summoned by the State, he said police were relying on evidence from ZESIT against Jere and his company.
Mushoriwa said they were also relying on two ZETDC engineers.
The State is vehemently opposing bail.
The State said Jere has connections abroad which would not guarantee that he will stand trial.
His lawyer, Tinofara Hove, put Jere on the stand in support of his bail application.
Jere said the alleged connections were merely business contacts and not in any way people who would shelter him should he flee Zimbabwe.
On the alleged fraud, Jere argued that his dealings with ZETDC were legitimate and the electricity meters he supplied to the company were approved during the adjudication period when he was bidding for the tender.
He said it was shocking that he was accused of misrepresenting facts and supplying substandard equipment two years after the deal was agreed and paid for.
“The US$3 million deal was the pilot project and the US$28 million project is now in the rollout stage and some people know this and are now cooking up these allegations,” he claimed.
“I have known of these allegations since March and if I were to flee, I would have done so.”
Jere further argued that the meter manufacturing factory was in existence in the United Kingdom and wondered why there were people at ZETDC now denying the presence of the company.
The matter will proceed today before magistrate Lazini Ncube, with Chisina and Chikonzo’s lawyer making closing submissions.