Harare chemical supplier tackles Chombo

HARARE - A Harare businessperson is demanding that Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo retract comments that he was a murderous entrepreneur who deliberately delivered poisonous sodium cyanide to Harare’s city water treatment plant and endangered millions of lives.

Alex Mashamhanda’s lawyers have written to Chombo expressing concern about the “wrongful” comments and said they will take whatever steps they need to protect his reputation, giving Chombo seven days to retract.

The seven days have since elapsed, and Chombo is standing by everything he has said — that Mashamhanda imperilled the lives of millions and he is trying to create distractions by mounting flimsy defences.
Chombo has blacklisted Mashamhanda as a chemical supplier, after alleging that this was the second time he had delivered a wrong product after allegedly “fraudulently” delivering salt to the city in 2011 instead of aluminium sulphate.

Mashamhanda denies this, and alleges Chombo is pursuing a political vendetta against him. He says Chombo has also stopped him from constructing a $1,2 million service station and food court next to Matapi Police Station in Mbare.

Mashamhanda claims the minister wanted the prime stand himself to develop a filling station there in partnership with Lebanese investors.

Mashamhanda says Chombo’s comments, published in local newspapers and beamed on TV and radio were “factually inexact and therefore wrongful and defamatory”.

“Our instructions are that the comments ascribed to you are factually incorrect, as none of our clients aforesaid wrongfully delivered salt (instead of aluminium sulphate) or sodium cyanide to city of Harare at the city’s Morton Jaffrey water treatment plant as alleged (by Chombo),” the letter to Chombo says.

Mashamhanda said Chombo had portrayed him as an unethical, unreliable, morally bankrupt businessperson who does not respect the sanctity of contracts, and as a generally unfit person to do business with, to the extent that he and his companies have been blacklisted by the municipality and struck off the city’s suppliers-list.

Mashamhanda’s lawyers say in consequence of the “defamatory and wrongful statements” ascribed to Chombo, “our client’s stature as a businessman has been diminished and his clients, business partners and bankers have already registered their unwillingness to continue doing business with him or his companies.”

Mashamhanda wants Chombo to go on state TV and radio and issue a statement in all newspapers retracting his comments or face consequences. - Gift Phiri

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