'Cyanide delivery a mix-up'

HARARE - Businessman Alex Mashamhanda has told the court that the delivery of sodium cyanide instead of aluminium sulphate to Morton Jaffray water works in Harare was clearly a human error.

Mashamhanda, who is the director of MT and N, a distribution company, said this yesterday during the trial of Farai Muchenje, Simon Demhe, Appronalise Mupakaviri and Tiki Tarwirei who are accused of conspiring to deliver the sodium cyanide to Harare Morton Jaffray water works.

Mashamhanda said there was no conspiracy in this case since it was a mistake that can happen with anyone. He said the sodium cyanide was supposed to be delivered to MT and N warehouse for a different purpose instead of delivery to the water works.

“The delivery of sodium cyanide was a human error and a mix up. Our business is to deliver a product to the (Harare) City Council and issue a delivery note. What they do after that is none of our business,” said Mashamhanda.

He said the delivery of sodium cyanide to Morton Jaffray was a result of an error from the logistics officer.

“It is a mistake not a common feature,” said Mashamhanda.

The court heard Demhe was assigned by Muchenje — a manager of Pairtrade private limited — to transport a consignment of 365 packages of sodium cyanide weighing 19 580kg from Mozambique in July last year.

According to State papers, Muchenje received an order indicating that he was supposed to transport aluminium sulphate to Morton Jaffray water works meant for water treatment during the same month.

The State alleged Muchenje and Demhe delivered the sodium cyanide instead of aluminium sulphate.

Harare municipality assistant water works attendant Walter Chitsomba discovered it was not aluminium sulphate that had been delivered and informed his superiors resulting in the quartet’s arrest. - Ivene Zhakata

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