Nyore Madzianike Senior Court Reporter
THE State on Friday completed leading evidence from all its witnesses in the trial of businessman Farai Jere, his company Helcraw Electrical and two ZETDC engineers Freeman Chikonzo and Leonard Chisina who are charged with defrauding ZETDC, Zesa’s distribution arm, of US$3,5million in a smart meter supply deal.
Jere, his company and the two engineers deny the charges and through lawyers Advocate Mr Lewis Uriri and Mrs Mavis Sachikonye Ushe, told the court that they will jointly apply for discharge at the close of State’s case.
They told regional magistrate Mrs Marehwanazvo Gofa that they will file their written application on October 1 with the State led by Mr Tafara Charambira and Mrs Tendai Shonhai responding on October 8. Mrs Gofa is expected to make a ruling on October 15. If Mrs Gofa finds that the State has not made out a case she will discharge the four, but if she thinks they have a case to answer she will put them on their defence.
Yesterday, the State led evidence from Mr Rodrick Chikwira, a former Zesa Holdings investigations and security advisor.
Mr Chikwira told the court that they instituted investigations at the instance of his former boss and Zesa executive chairman Dr Sydney Gata after receiving a complaint from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).
He told the court that Dr Gata then set a team to undertake the investigations. All I know is that during my time as loss control manager, I used to hold meetings with ZACC. I then had a meeting with Commissioner Sandu who shared a report with me to the effect that there was a Factory Assessment Test (FAT) conducted in the UK and said there was an anomaly.
This report was written by two engineers Julius Mapipi and Munyaradzi Chuma. When I went through the report, I shared it with my Boss Dr Gata, who then appointed a consultant, who subsequently appointed Mr Francis Masawi, Mr James Dzumbira and one Mr Manga to undertake the probe.
Chikwira said he also carried out his own parallel investigations based on the FAT report that was presented to him by ZACC. The only potential anomaly that he picked was a meter data management system that was not complete. There was also an engineer who was left behind on the team that travelled to the United Kingdom for FAT tests.
In the report, I noted that a consignment was received from India and was received before the team arrived, he said.
Assistant Commissioner Themba Mushoriwa, who investigated the matter, told the court that Jere misrepresented to ZETDC that they carried out a FAT in India when they had gone to the UK and that Jere also misrepresented that Secure Meters had a manufacturing plant in the UK where it only had a workshop.
Asked why ZETDC engineers who travelled to UK were not arrested along with Chikonzo and Chisina, who were part of the team, Ascom Mushoriwa replied: Mapipi and Chuma were not arrested because they raised a red flag.
Meanwhile, the ruling on an application for exception to the obstructing the course of justice made by ZIFA board members Felton Kamambo, Phillimon Machana, Brighton Malandule and Jere was deferred to September 28.
Kamambo, who is the ZIFA president, Machana Jere and Malandule are alleged to have transferred judicial funds from a ZIFA account into a private company’s bank account.
The ruling was supposed to be delivered yesterday but the magistrate handling the matter was not available.
The quartet argued that there was no court order that barred them from transferring the money from the said account. Daisy Lodges, who is the complainant in the matter, wanted to execute a garnishee order on one of the ZIFA accounts.