Harare, November 12, 2013 – FORMER Big Brother Africa winner Wendall Parson who was recently acquitted on fraud charges has hit back at a Harare insurance company by suing the firm for more than $500 000 in defamation.
Parson was arrested and detained for three days in May before being charged with committing fraud over false car insurance claims after his Ford Ranger vehicle was involved in an accident.
He was acquitted by Harare Magistrate Elijah Makomo at the close of the State case late last month after the court ruled that there was no prima facie case against him.
Magistrate Makomo ruled that the evidence placed before the court by state prosecutors was not sufficient to convict the former Big Brother Africa winner because the insurance cover notes supplied to him by Alliance Insurance Company were still valid at the time the accident occurred early this year.
In a summons filed in the High Court Tuesday, Parson, through his lawyer Harrison Nkomo of Mtetwa and Nyambirai Legal Practitioners charged that Sipathisiwe Sibanda, a Harare woman and Allied Insurance Company defamed him by filing a false, unlawful and malicious report to the police alleging that he had defrauded the insurance firm.
The Big Brother Africa star is demanding payment of a total of $544 750 jointly from Sibanda, Allied Insurance Company and Armour Khan Insurance Brokers, an insurance broking firm.
Parson charges that the statement made to the police by Sibanda and Allied Insurance Company led to the publication of false allegations on the local media including the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and regional and international media.
He said the report to the police and the subsequent media articles were understood by people who read the stories to mean that he was dishonest and a fraudster.
Parson says he suffered excruciating pain while in detention, extreme physiological trauma and incurred huge legal costs defending the criminal matter.
Out of the total of $544 750, $350 000 if for defamation, $28 000 for pain and suffering, $35 000 is for damages for physiological trauma, $75 000 for malicious prosecution and $28 000 being legal costs incurred in the criminal case.
Parson and Karen Igho from Nigeria were the 2011 winners of Africa’s biggest reality show, Big Brother Amplified and each pocketed $200 000 in prize money.