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'Abducted' Zimbabwe doctor free of poisoning: Tests

by Staff reporter
25 Sep 2020 at 02:56hrs | Views
A RANGE of blood and urine specimens extracted from Peter Magombeyi, the former Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) president, who was allegedly abducted by state security last year showed no traces of poison, latest toxicological results show.

He was allegedly abducted at the height of nationwide protests by junior doctors over poor remuneration in 2019.

Magombeyi was discovered 30 kilometers outside the capital, a week after he went missing when he was allegedly abducted by suspected state agents.

As he convalesced at a local private hospital, amid a heavy presence of state security agents who sought to quiz the doctor, lawyers and doctors representing him sought recourse from the High Court to have him released so that he could seek medical attention outside the country.

Magombeyi claimed that he was tortured and electrocuted by his alleged abductors, who snatched him in Budiriro.

While he was in hospital after he was discovered, five doctors namely Trust Zaranyika, Aaron Musara, Andrew Mataruse, Walter Mangezi and Shingirirai Meki signed an affidavit confirming that Magombeyi urgently required further functional brain imaging and toxicological evaluation, services which are not available in Zimbabwe.

The High Court granted the order, allowing Magombeyi to seek medical assistance outside the country.

According to documents seen by the Zimbabwe Independent this week, which include a range of toxicological tests conducted on blood and urine samples extracted from Magombeyi, the medical examinations conducted in Botswana show that the ex ZHDA leader had no traces of poison and alcohol in his body.

The series of toxicological tests to determine whether Magombeyi was poisoned during the time he was reportedly abducted were conducted by Neo Maimela, Chief Forensic Scientific Officer employed by the Botswana government.

According to an affidavit dated August 13, 2020, Maimela highlighted that he is "... based at the Police Forensic Science Laboratory in Gaborone," and has been in the "Chemistry section of the laboratory since December 2003 following completion of the Police Recruit Course at the Botswana police College, Otse."

The affidavit, seen by this newspaper this week, underscored a series of tests conducted on blood and urine specimens drawn from Magombeyi as part of an assessment to determine whether he was poisoned.

It reads: "I Neo Maimela make oath and state that I have the following qualifications Master of Science in Forensic Toxicology (Medical Science) from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK IN 2012. Bachelor of Science degree (Chemistry and Environmental Science) form the University of Botswana obtained in 2000.I am a Chief Forensic Scientific Officer employed by the Government of the Republic of Botswana under the Ministry for State President. My duties include analysis of drugs, cases of suspected poison, alcohol in blood and maintenance of breathalysers.

"The laboratory records show that on 03/08/2020 at 15:36hrs the exhibits described below were received from Mr Motsamai and registered as T66/20 by SubInspector Mapeo. On the 03/08/2020 I received the exhibits from Sub-Inspector Mapeo for analysis."

The exhibits which are described extensively in the affidavit and analysed by Maimela were "contained in a transparent re-sealable plastic bag labelled L/R 342/19 ... it contained a white form which was labelled Patient: Peter Gabriel Magombeyi, Age: 26 YRS (years)Address: Budiriro 2 Harare."

According to the affidavit, the releasable bag labelled 342/19 contained "Two yellow capped transparent blood tubes each labelled Peter Gabriel Magombey;DOB:20/6/93.The tubes contained some blood samples.

"A grey capped transparent blood tube labelled Magombeyi Peter;20/6/93;25.PUT. The tube contained some blue sample."

The aforementioned releasable bag also carried a "blue capped transparent blood tube labelled Magombeyi Peter; 20/6/93," and it also contained some blood sample."

Analysing these blood samples, as well as urine specimen contained in a "green capped bottle labelled Date: 20/9/19;TIME: 12:55hrs;PATIENT:Magombeyi Peter; Specimen: Urine," the forensic expert extracted the samples using a method called "Solid Phase Extraction(SPE) technique and analysed them using Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS."

To determine the presence of ethanol in Magombeyi's samples, the forensic expert analysed the samples using the Headspace Gas Chromatography technique."

Following the range of tests carried out, the results showed that there were no "... poisons, illicit drugs or controlled substances in the blood samples."

No ethanol was detected in all the samples.

Subsequently, Maimela concluded that "alcohol, illicit drugs and controlled substance were not detected in all the samples."

However, the urine samples showed the presence of "Acetaminophen (commonly known as paracetamol) which is a drug used to relief pain and reduce fever ..."

The affidavit, seen by the Independent, was submitted under oath to Principal Officer Tshephe Keewe on August 13.

Magombeyi resigned from his position as leader of ZHDA in January citing "personal reasons" but committed to contribute towards the upliftment of the welfare of medical practitioners, amid a worsening economic environment.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration has accused Magombeyi for stage-managing the alleged abduction.

Source - the independent