A Harare filling station shut down its operations on Tuesday after it emerged that its petrol was contaminated with water. Engen Petroleum at the corner of Kaguvi Street and Robert Mugabe Road had to stop serving customers following complaints by at least four motorists that contaminated petrol had caused mechanical problems to their vehicles.
The vehicles failed to start after they had received petrol with water, which led to the filling station to stop serving fuel, only to reopen on Wednesday.
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) confirmed the development, saying a team of investigators had been dispatched to the filling station.
ZERA head of the petroleum department Engineer Andrew Guri said his team established that the fuel was indeed contaminated and that the operator was now in the process of cleaning the tanks.
Eng Guri said ZERA had not received an official complaint from the motoring public, hence no charges were preferred against the Engen Petroleum branch.
"We conducted some tests and they were positive. ZERA is mandated to prosecute retailers who sell contaminated fuel knowingly. In Engen's case, the proprietor is working on resolving the issue and they had already stopped serving fuel," he said.
"No motorists filed complaints with us and when our team arrived at the scene, there were no motorists being served neither were there complaints by any affected customers."
A fuel attendant at the filling station confirmed that some vehicles' engines had been affected by the contaminated fuel.
"Four vehicles failed to start after we had served petrol, only to find out that the fuel was contaminated," said the attendant. A motorist, Mr Brighton Maboda, was on Tuesday complaining that his Volkswagen Polo had been affected by the contaminated petrol.
"I tried to start the engine just after buying petrol, but it failed to start. I called my mechanic to check on it and he concluded that it had been affected by the contaminated fuel. Engen staff is denying liability and are refusing to assist me," he said.