HARARE businessman, Alex Mashamhanda has appeared before a commission of inquiry investigating the erroneous delivery of poisonous chemicals at the capital’s main waterworks.
Mashamhanda owns the company that delivered sodium cyanide instead of aluminum sulphate at Morton Jeffery Water Works in July this year.
He appeared before the commission on August 23, 2012, where he denied any wrongdoing.
Last month, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo set up a seven-member team headed by the director of Civil Protection, Madzudzo Pawadyira, to investigate circumstances leading to the delivery of the highly poisonous chemical to Harare’s main water treatment plant.
Other members of the probe team include former Masvingo town clerk, Tsungai Mhangami, the deputy chair of the commission; Florence Ziyambi from the Attorney General’s Office; Petronnella Shoko, the director of Environmental Management Agency; State Procu-rement Board member Patrick Mushonga; Albert Wakandigara, a consultant on hazardous substances and Comedy Piti, a mining inspector.
The team was also tasked to look into the awarding of tenders relating to the purchase and importation of water chemicals as well as Harare City Council (HCC)’s internal chemicals handling procedures. At least three senior executives of a transport and clearing agent who handled the transportation of the poisonous chemical have been arrested and hauled before the courts over the incident.
Mashamhanda confirmed this week that he appeared before the commission, saying the team told him he faced attempted murder charges.
He dismissed the “purported” charges as frivolous, politically motivated and designed to settle personal scores.
“It is correct I appeared before Pawadyira on August 23, 2012 and his team.
“They told me they were investigating circumstances leading to the delivery of cyanide at Morton Jeffery in order to make recommendations to Minister Chombo. They said I am the one with the contract with the Harare City Council so I should take responsibility for attempting to kill four million people,” he said.
“I told them although it was a human error, the-re was no way the offending ch-emicals were go-ing to be used at the water works since the error was discovered even before the consignment was off-loaded.
“The HCC has highly qualified personnel on the lookout specifically for such incidents.
“I don’t believe there was any danger to the public but personal differences,” he added.
The businessman charged that ZANU-PF has been victimising him since 2004. He cited the recent dispute over a multi-million dollar project in Mbare suburb, which he was forced to abandon after ZANU-PF youths unleashed a reign of terror on the contractor and his workers, accusing the businessman of being a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) supporter.
Mashamhanda is suspected of bankrolling the MDC-T, charges the businessman flatly denies.
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