By Bongani Ndlovu
Pub Lagondola in Bulawayo has been temporarily shut down reportedly because of rental arrears of about $22 000.
Furniture at the popular nightspot was yesterday strewn outside as it looked like the Deputy Sheriff had been called in to remove the tenants. Some of the tenants were also seen collecting their property.
Jabulani Nyoni, who five years ago partnered with lease owner Mgcini Nkolomi (through his company Mayhemt Enterprises) for the running of the pub, yesterday accused his partner of misappropriation of funds.
Nyoni said there was an agreement between him and Nkolomi, a former Highlanders Football club board chairman, to run the bar. As part of their agreement, Nkolomi was to be given part of the rent money which he, through his company, would settle together with other incidental costs of the lease.
However, Nyoni said trouble started when the owner of the building, one Mrs Di Prinizio, died two years ago.
“During the time of the agreement, I’d give him (Nkolomi) money (rent) to deposit to the estate of the late Mrs Di Prinizio, but unfortunately he wasn’t paying for the past two years,” said a disgruntled Nyoni.
“So far, there are arrears of about $22 000 and also some payments to the Bulawayo City Council that haven’t been settled. I’ve all the evidence of all our payments to him.”
Last year, Nyoni said there were efforts by Nkolomi to evict him from the premises, but fortunately, he won the case at the High Court.
“I only found out this year that there were such arrears from the handlers of the estate who said we haven’t been paying rent for the past years. I was surprised.
“He (Nkolomi) has tried to get us removed from the place several times but without luck. He once brought police to the premises seeking to remove us. He had lied to them saying we didn’t want to move, but when we got to the police station, I produced the previous judgement that we won. The second time he came and started threatening me and I ended up locking myself in the office.
“The third time (last month), he came to Lagondola wanting to move his property and we agreed that he does so,” said Nyoni.
Conveniently, a few days after Nkolomi left the establishment; a notice of eviction from the Deputy Sheriff’s office was sent saying they should vacate Lagondola this past Monday.
“The notice of eviction was sent to Lagondola (addressed to Nkolomi) last week and we were surprised to see the Deputy Sheriff at the premises on Monday telling us that we should leave. We asked who they gave the letter to and one Matsha from the bar confirmed receipt.
“But because it was addressed to Nkolomi, she didn’t tell us about it, but gave it to him. So in essence, the company that was evicted was Nkolomi’s, not ours,” said Nyoni.
Efforts to get Nkolomi’s side of the story were unsuccessful as his cellphone went unanswered and thereafter was not reachable.
While the whole drama is unfolding and disputes rage on, the people who are suffering are the patrons of the nightspot who had made it their home away from home. It remains to be seen if the pub will be re-opened by the same management or under different proprietors. For now it is closed. The Chronicle