ZIMBABWE – African Sun hotels on Friday hauled the Philanthropy Institute of Zimbabwe (PZI) founder, Enrico Sibanda, to court for evading payment of bills after holding events at two of their top Harare branches.
Sibanda was at the centre of controversy for dishing doctorates described as dodgy to several high profile business executives, public officials and politicians.
Another conference centre provider, Mega First Holdings, also took him to court over same allegations.
The former jailbird who is also the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Business Awards Council is expected in back in court on December 10 for his trial.
Prosecutor Devotion Gwashavanhu Nyagano told the court that Zimbabwe Business Awards Council, represented by Sibanda in his own capacity approached Crown Plaza on February 13 this year and booked for a breakfast meeting for 50 people.
The court heard he was charged $1 000.
Sibanda then brought an additional 200 people on the day of the event.
Prosecutors said he asked the hotel to cater for the people promising that he would pay the required $3 000 after the event.
After the function he then promised to pay on the 27th of that month.
The court heard that the day came but he still could not pay. He then became evasive prompting the hotel’s meetings director to make a police report.
Sibanda then approached Holiday Inn on March 11 and booked for 100 people who were going to attend the International Women’s Day.
He was charged $1,500 but he only paid $600 and became evasive on clearing the balance.
Recently, according to prosecutors, Sibanda approached Mega First and booked for another event for which he was billed $1,500.
He also placed a full page advertisement in the company’s magazine and was charged $750.
The court heard he did not pay the total bill of $2,000 after the function as he had promised.
The service providers suffered a total prejudice of $5,900 as a result of his actions.
Magistrate Batanai Madzingira is presiding over the matter.
Some of the people given honorary degrees by Sibanda’s ‘philanthropy’ institute include Zimbabwe Revenue Authority commissioner-general Gershem Pasi, United International Family Church’s Ruth Makandiwa, wife of Emmanuel Makandiwa.
Also honoured were Isabel Chihuri, wife of Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, former Zimbabwe National Roads Administration chief executive officer Frank Chitukutuku, Avenues Clinic managing director Merissa Kambani and Pastor Ruth Musarurwa of Christ Embassy.