Govt Boots Out John Singh
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)October 30, 2005Posted to the web October 31, 2005John MokwetsiTHE controversy surrounding John Singh's little known Miss Tourism World has forced the Zimbabwean government to cancel the event which was scheduled for February next year, Standardplus can reveal.
The scandal-ridden pageant ended in disarray in February after its director, Singh, failed to pay contestants and a company that had helped to promote the show.The government, suffering from a battered international image splashed out US$2 million to buy the worthless licence to host the pageant which it hoped would lure back tourists.
The benefits of hosting the pageant are still to be realised. Although government has not made an announcement over the development, Standardplus can reveal that the decision was made after it emerged that the country had not gained anything from the first pageant.An authoritative source in government said: "There was a heated exchange of words at a meeting of government officials in which the wisdom of splashing money in initiatives that do not benefit the country was questioned."We gave this man, Singh, US$2 million and he failed to pay contestants.He did not even give our girl, Oslie Muringai, all that was due to her. In fact, he only set aside US$100 000 for prizes and we don't know where the rest of the money vanished to."We did everything for him, right from paying for transport and other expenses and in return US$100 000 was all he could give back! Thanks to The Standard we established that this man had a lot of controversy around him and that added weight to the views of some of us who saw him as a swindler."
Singh fled Zimbabwe for London where he is based after Original Black Entertainment Television (OBTV) took him to court for failing to pay them for their role in promoting the Miss Tourism World pageant.OBTV was supposed to receive 10 percent of the US$2million paid to Singh.Despite a writ of arrest that was issued by the High Court in March,
Singh has been shuttling between London and Harare allegedly in a bid to convince the government to continue the relationship.In May Standardplus broke the story that Singh's organisation was a subject of urgent circulars to all national directors and agents worldwide, disassociating themselves from his organisation.
On 25 September 2003, Miss World limited, a reputable organisation that runs Miss World, circulated letters to all licence holderswarning them of Singh.Part of the letter read: "Mr John Singh does not represent or is no way connected to Miss World. If you have had any dealings with Mr Singh in the past, or know of anyone who has, we should be very grateful if you would let us know."
Contacted for comment Karikoga Kaseke, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer, confirmed that Miss Tourism World had been shelved."Yes, I can confirm that government has arrived at that decision. The reason being that we wanted to prepare our contestants to be adequately conversant with aspects of our country before hosting such an event."Kaseke would neither confirm nor deny that Singh's conduct was the reason for dropping the pageant."I cannot comment on that. I do not have anything to say on that issue. What I have told you is what I know."Apart from paying for the licence, the government also forked out billions of dollars for accommodation, food and travel fares around the country, as the contestants toured holiday resorts.