Self-styled philanthropist Enrico Sibanda, whose claim to fame is dishing out honorary doctorates to celebrities, business leaders and several top civil servants, was yesterday arraigned at the Harare Magistrates’ Court, facing charges of fraud involving $5 900 in unpaid hotel bills.
BY SILENCE CHARUMBIRA
Magistrate Batanai Madzingira remanded Sibanda to December 10 for commencement of trial after he pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutor Devoted Gwashavanhu Nyagano presented that Sibanda, who runs the Zimbabwe Business Awards Council, was facing three counts of fraud committed at different hotels in Harare and Bulawayo.
In the first count, Sibanda allegedly approached Crowne Plaza Hotel and booked for breakfast for 50 people that was to be held on February 16 and was billed $1 000.
He paid for the service, but went on to bring in an additional 200 people and requested that the hotel provides services and made an undertaking to pay $3 000 after the event.
However, after the event, he failed to pay the $3 000 and indicated to the hotel that he would pay on February 27, for which he signed an acknowledgement of debt.
Sibanda then became evasive and never paid the money, the court heard.
On the second count, it is the State’s case that Sibanda went to Holiday Inn on March 11 and made a booking for 100 people for the International Women’s Day celebrations, which were scheduled to be held on March 30.
For the service, the hotel charged him $1 500 and he went on to make a part payment of $600 on March 23 and promised to pay the balance of $900 on the day of the event.
On the day of the event, he allegedly sneaked out of the hotel without paying the balance and when the hotel contacted him, he reportedly became evasive.
On the third count, the State said Sibanda approached Mega Fest Holdings in Bulawayo sometime in November 2014 and booked for 10 people for an event to take place on November 18, but did not pay anything after being charged $1 250.
Prior to his departure, he went on to place a full page advertisement worth $750 in the organisation’s magazine and again did not make any payment, but promised to settle the full amount of $2 000 within a week.
Sibanda allegedly became evasive afterwards and never settled the bill.