By A Correspondent| Harare regional magistrate Mrs Marehwanazvo Gofa has discharged and acquitted Helcraw Electrical businessman Farai Jere, who was facing fraud charges invloving 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 Leornad Chisina and Freeman Chikonzo.
The trio were discharged at the close of the State’s case.In her ruling Mrs Gofa evidence submitted by the state failed to establish the offence charged.”The State did not prove anything from UK to show that they is no manufacturing plant,”she said.Mrs 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,”ruled Mrs Gofa.She went saying that the State witnesses who came testified as defence witnesses.
During trial 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.