Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
CAPS United president and businessman Farai Jere who is facing US$3 million fraud charges will be back in court tomorrow when he is expected to get his bail ruling following a lengthy application.
Jere is appearing together with two ZETDC management officers Leonard Chisina ZETDC IT department senior manager and Freeman Kuziva Chikonzo ZETDC Engineer.
The matter is being heard by regional magistrate Lazini Ncube.
The State led by Tinashe Makiya and George Manokore told the court in 2016, Jere’s company won a tender to supply ZETDC with 1151 smart metres and Head End System at a cost of US$3 566 878.
The key elements of the contracts were that Factory Acceptance Test was to be conducted in situ, that in the factory were the metres were being manufactured, Helcraw Electrical was also supposed to finance the flight, food and accommodation for the delegation that was to do the Factory Acceptance Test.
The specifications for the meters were base current of 5 amps and maximum current of 120 amps, type tests were to be done at the site and that Head End System was to be a two way wireless communication.
The State alleges that Jere misrepresented to ZETDC that Secure Metres Private Limited has a manufacturing plant for smart metres and Head End System in the United Kingdom, yet there was none.
On November 24 2018, three engineers namely Engineer Chisina, Engineer Mapipi and Engineer Tshuma all from ZETDC as well as one of the company’s representative from the IT department Freeman Chikonzo accompanied Jere to the UK to carry out the Factory Acceptance Test.
While in the UK, Jere took the engineers to a warehouse where there were some smart meters instead of a factory which he claimed to have and in terms of the contractual agreement, the factory acceptance test was supposed to be done in situ where the manufacturing process was taking place and as a result, the factory acceptance test that was done didn’t meet the required standards.
It is reported that on the specifications, the meters that the engineers tested had a base current of 10 amps and maximum current of 100 amps, on the particular meters that were tested, the meters were connected to a laptop using a cable thus the Head End System again failed.
Jere allegedly produced a fake Factory Acceptance Test visit report to the effect that the smart meters and Head End System met the standards required by ZETDC and asked the four engineers to sign, Engineer Chisina and Chikonzo signed while Mapipi and Tshuma expressed reservations over the signing of the document as no Factory Acceptance Test had been done.
The court heard that Jere asked Chisina the team leader to speak to Engineers Mapipi and Tshuma to sign the report and fumed that there was no way he could sponsor the engineers trip from Zimbabwe to UK for them to refuse to sign the report and as a result, they signed under duress.
Jere then made a shipment of the smart meters which were delivered to ZETDC and a payment of US$3 566 878 was made.
It is further alleged that upon their arrival to Zimbabwe, Engineers Tshuma and Mapipi were removed from the project by Chisina.
The ZETDC management requested the delegation that accompanied Jere to the UK to complete questionnaires on what they observed during the Factory Acceptance test and Engineers Chisina AND Chikonzo indicated on the questionnaires that the required standards were met while the other two indicated that there was no factory test done as required.
In January this year, the Loss Control Manager Rodrick Chikwira was assigned to carry out investigations together with an external consultant and they both established that not factory test was done.
As a result of this, ZETDC resolved to remove from its system all meters supplied by Jere as they failed to meet the minimum requirements set by ZETDC.