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Durban - A chartered accountant wants a judge to order the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society to investigate the conduct of an attorney who, he alleges, “deliberately ignored” an interdict, granted last year, stopping him from paying almost R700 000 in a property deal.
Navin Singh secured the interim interdict against Gamanalal Dwarkadass, also known as Mr Gordhan of Gordhan and Company in Verulam, from Durban High Court Judge Johan Ploos van Amstel in May.
But last month, he discovered that the property deal had been concluded in August and that no money was kept in the law firm’s trust account.
Singh says he now fears that he will not recover the money he claims is owed to him by husband and wife Moghamberry and Gonusandrie Raman, who used to run a textile business making cushions, pillows and linen for the Mr Price Group from premises they owned in Gale Street.
Singh says he rendered accounting services to the Ramans for 10 years when, in 2011, they approached him for a loan.
A loan agreement was drawn up, making provision for the total amount to be repaid over seven months - and the Ramans also drew up a suretyship agreement, signed an acknowledgement of debt and passed a notarial bond on manufacturing machines as security.
But, Singh alleges, the couple did not pay back one cent.
Instead, cheque payments were stopped and, when he went to the Gale Street factory, he was “shocked” to discover that the premises were empty and the machines were gone.
He contacted Raman, who told him he was selling the factory for R3.9 million and promised to pay him from the proceeds.
Singh said he did not believe him and he asked for an undertaking from Raman’s attorney, Dwarkadass, that it would withhold payment of R690 000 pending the finalisation of court action over the matter.
No undertaking was given and so he went to court, securing the interim order.
The couple opposed the application and the matter was set down before Acting Judge Stephen Mullins last week.
In preparation, Singh’s advocate, Vishalan Naidu, asked his instructing attorneys to check whether the money had been held in trust – and that was when it came to light that it had not, although the transfer of the Gale Street property had taken place last August.
Singh, in a fresh affidavit filed with the court, described the method of transfer as “extremely irregular” and said Dwarkadass’s version was “highly improbable”.
“The only inference is that he attempted to deliberately defeat the ends of the justice. I submit there was also an ethical obligation on him, as an officer of the court against whom an interdict was granted, to inform the court and my attorney about the transfer and that no funds had passed through his trust account if this were the case,” Singh said.
“I believe the law society should investigate his conduct,” he said.
When the matter came before Judge Mullins, Moghamberry Raman, representing himself, pleaded poverty but agreed to an order confirming the rule and ordering that he pay costs.
Dwarkadass has until March 22 to file an affidavit giving his version of events.