Consultant testifies in Jere trial

Source: Consultant testifies in Jere trial | The Herald

Consultant testifies in Jere trial
Farai Jere

Nyore Madzianike

Senior Court Reporter

A consultant, who testified in the matter in which businessman Farai Jere, his company Helcraw Electricals and two engineers — Leonard Chisina and Freeman Chikonzo — are charged with fraud involving US$3,5m, said what happened in the smart meter project deal was according to contractual agreements between the parties.

Former Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) employee and consultant in the energy distribution sector, Mr Francis Masawi, told the court that it was Zesa management that bungled in the deal, as the factory assessment tests (FAT) were conducted according to contract specifications.

Mr Masawi, who is a State witness, told the court that the FAT tests were done according to international standards, as was stated in the contract agreement between Zesa and Helcraw Electricals, although it was not to agreed standards.

He also exonerated Chikonzo and Chisina saying they were not even supposed to have gone under disciplinary hearings as it was their managers who were at fault.

Jere, his company, Chikonzo and Chisina are all denying the charges.

“I was tasked to look at irregularities in the project of Zesa meters. It was agreed in the contract that no action was to be taken against officials who were to undertake the project.

“There were four officials who undertook the FAT and to comment on the conduct of the two (Chisina and Chikonzo) who are in the dock today is not fair.

“The FAT was one of the irregularities that was picked in the reports. The FAT was part of contract negotiations and there were specifications. The FAT was conducted in the United Kingdom although the manufacturer was in India,” said Mr Masawi.

He said the Zesa manager who signed the contract was to blame for the irregularities since it was specified in the contract.

“My investigation had to do with Zesa and did not cover suppliers and it will be difficult for me to say what the suppliers did wrong.

“I find difficulties to say they (Chisina and Chikonzo) did this wrong because the Zesa managers did not do their job properly.

“They must be accountable for their teams whenever they go out and when they return,” he said.

Mr Masawi distanced himself from a report prepared by Zesa saying it was his first time seeing such a report.

Zesa produced a report which chronicled irregularities in the deal that led to the Jere, Chisina and Chikonzo’s arrest.

Mr Masawi told the court that a report which saw at the police when he gave his statement during investigations had no dates and signatures.

The matter continues on Monday.

Mrs Tendai Shonhai and Mr Tafara Chirambira appeared for the State while regional magistrate Mrs Marehwanazvo Gofa presided.