BUSINESSMAN Farai Jere, accused of swindling the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) of over US$3million in a smart meters supply deal in connivance with ZETDC employees, acted as a company representative and not in his personal capacity, a State witness has said.
William Rugoyi, the State’s third witness who chaired the committees that negotiated the contract relating to the smart meters deal, told the court that Jere’s participation as shown on the contract was on behalf of the company.
“Everything was to be done according to the contract and that if any dispute had arisen it had to be taken through negotiation and if not, then it was to be taken through arbitration,” he said.
Allegations are that Jere misrepresented to ZETDC that Secure Meters (Private) Limited had a manufacturing plant for smart meters and had a head end system in the United Kingdom yet there was none.
Jere is charged together with his company, Helcraw Electrical and two ZETDC employees, Leonard Chisina and Freeman Chikonzo.
Claims are that on November 24, 2018, three engineers Julius Mapipi, Munyaradzi Tshuma and Chisina all from ZETDC and Chikonzo went with Jere to the UK to carry out a factory acceptance test (FAT).
It is alleged that while in the UK, Jere took the engineers to a warehouse with smart meters and not a factory.
Reports are that Chisina and Chikonzo signed the false FAT report while Mapipi and Tshuma expressed reservations as no test had been done.
Claims are that upon return to the country, Mapipi and Tshuma were removed from the project by Chisina.
It is alleged that Jere then made a shipment of 1 151 smart meters which were delivered to ZETDC and it paid US$3 566 878, 02.
In defence, the businessman told the court that everything was above board and there was no misrepresentation.
“It is reiterated that the contract was awarded on the basis of the adjudication process central to which were the samples provided. It is this contingent upon which payment was dependent.
‘The complainant retained the right to refuse delivery of goods that did not match the sample, subject to any agreed alterations,” he argued.
The matter will continue on June 28.