The Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has said it cannot pay a compensation of K95 million to one of the families in Area 18 affected by contamination of water last month.
The issue that water being supplied to part of Area 18A was mixed with sewage came to light on July 18.
Khama Matupa, Elinat Matupa, Thandiwe Longwe, Beatrice Njiragoma and two minors, through lawyers GD Liwimbi and Partners on August 9, wrote the Board seeking compensation amounting to K95 million.
According to the letter, the compensation is for damages for negligence, nervous shock, breach of warranty by supplying contaminated water and specific damages in relation to hospital charges, food and transport during the admission of two of the affected family members.
In the letter, Khama Matupa, Elinati Matupa, Njiragoma, Thandiwe Longwe and one of the minors are demanding a K15 million compensation each. The other minor is demanding K20 million compensation.
But LWB, through lawyers, Likongwe and Company, in a letter to Liwimbi and Partners, has denied liability.
“We are legal practitioners of Lilongwe Water Board. Your letter, dated 9th August 2017, has been given to us with instructions to respond. Lilongwe Water Board denies any liability. Should you wish to commence court proceedings on this matter, serve the summons on us,” reads the letter dated August 15, 2017.
In the letter to the Board, the six people said “it is degrading, disgusting, noxious, and incomprehensible to make human beings consume human excreta” through the water supplied by the board as a result of negligence.
“Following the supply of the sewage contaminated water above, all our six clients as mentioned above, suffered from vomiting, diarrhoea,weakness, fever and abdominal pains. Clinical and laboratory assessments discovered that our clients were under severe bacterial infection consistent with severe bacterial gastroenteritis,” reads part of the letter.
It continues: “The clients were inter alia treated with anti-biotics and metronidazole. Specifically, the minor clients were admitted for two days and were put on intravenous fluids and anti-biotics,”
The letter reminds LWB that under the Water Works Act, the Board has a statutory duty of controlling and managing all water works which includes provision of safe and clean water to residents as well as management of sewage and maintenance of public sewers.
“It is clear that you completely failed in your duty by neglecting to manage and maintain both the sewer and water pipe lines, which resulted in the water getting contaminated with human excreta, thereby injuring our clients whom you ought to reasonably have contemplated as likely victims of your neglect,” it reads.
In an interview yesterday, Elinat Matupa said they are taking the matter to court.
“Since Lilongwe Water Board is denying liability, we are proceeding with the matter to court. We will tell our lawyers to serve them with summons,” she said.
This, however, is a different action from the one the residents are collectively pursuing through lawyer Chance Mwalubunju.
In that action, the residents are demanding a compensation of about K4 million to each person living in the 263 houses affected, which may translate to over K4 billion.
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