The trial of former Big Brother winner Wendall Parsons started yesterday with the first State witness revealing in court that Wendall’s brother, William, attempted to bribe the insurance assessor with US$2 000. Wendall and William, who are co-accused in a fraud case, had their lawyer Mr Harrison Nkomo file an application for further amendment to the charge sheet before trial commences.
However, magistrate Mr Tayengwa Chibanda dismissed the application and ruled that the matter should proceed to trial.
Prosecutor Ms Constance Ngombengombe led evidence from the first State witness, Ms Siphatisile Sibanda, employed as Alliance Insurance Company acting chief branch manager.
Giving her testimony, Ms Sibanda told the court that her duties included receiving company mail before designating them to the respective departments and authorising payments.
“A client can approach us personally or through an insurance broker. On March 16 this year, we received a memo from an AK insurance broker indicating that they wanted to insure Wendall’s Ford Ranger and two trailers.
“In April we got another memo from the same insurance broker indicating their client Wendall was involved in an accident on March 28. I signed the total loss form for Wendall’s policy,” she said.
Ms Sibanda told the court that the claim file consisted of a copy of the driver’s licence, a police report and three quotations which revealed that the car was a write-off.
The claim was taken to a claim processor who further submitted it to an assessor named Weber Sithole.
The court heard that Sithole proceeded to the police to verify the authenticity of the police report.
“It emerged at the police that the accident had occurred on March 16, and William was the one driving the car. Sithole asked to have the docket contents copied to another paper so that he could alert Allied Insurance Company. We went ahead to process the claim with the intention of establishing Wendall’s motives. He was called to sign the claim and the claim proceeded to the financial manager for payment,” she said.
Wendall was called to collect the money and he was told of the alleged fraud which he denied.
“We told him that William had paid Sithole US$2 000 so that he goes ahead and process the claim. Wendall said he wasn’t aware of all this and the matter proceeded to the police.
“We were supposed to pay him US$23 000 had the claim gone successful,” she said.
Trial continues tomorrow.