Jere out, Sikhala still in

Jere out, Sikhala still in

BUSINESSMAN and Caps United Football Club boss Farai Jere has been granted $20 000 bail by the High Court following his arrest late last month on fraud charges.Since his arrest, Jere has been languishing in remand prison after Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube denied him bail saying he was a flight risk.

But Justice Pisirayi Kwenda yesterday ruled that the magistrate had misdirected herself in denying him bail, adding that the case against Jere appeared more of a civil matter than corruption.

As part of his bail conditions, Jere was ordered to surrender his travel documents, not to interfere with witnesses and report once a week at the nearest police station.

Jere was arrested together with Leonard Chisina, an engineer, and information technology expert Freeman Kuziva Chikonzo, both employees of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).

The court heard that sometime in 2016, Jere won a tender to supply ZETDC with 1 151 smart meters and a head end system (HES) at a cost of
US$3 566 878.

The prosecution alleged that Jere misrepresented to ZETDC that a United Kingdom-based firm called Secure Meters Ltd had a manufacturing plant for smart meters and HES.

The State alleges that on November 24, 2018, three ZETDC engineers and Chikonzo accompanied Jere to the UK to carry out factory acceptance tests on the meters that the businessman referred to in his bid.

While in the UK, Jere allegedly took the engineers to a warehouse where there were some smart meters, instead of taking them to a factory.

As a result, the factory acceptance tests were not done as required, and ZETDC experienced technical glitches with the meters supplied by Jere, resulting in their recall.

But Jere is denying charges of defrauding the power utility and, instead, accusing his rivals of angling to elbow him out of the deal and take over the tender.

Meanwhile, MDC Alliance vice-chairperson Job Sikhala was yesterday denied bail by Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube, before his lawyers indicated that they would approach the High Court on appeal .

He was arrested on August 21 on violence incitement charges linked to the foiled July 31 anti-government protests.

In denying him bail, Ncube said the MDC top politician was facing a serious offence and that he was caught hiding when police were looking for him.

Police said they found Sikhala hiding in a ceiling at a house in Tynwald on the day of his arrest, a claim he has denied.