Brothel ‘boss’ enters into plea bargain

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Durban - The “boss” who managed the activities at two notorious Durban brothels has pleaded guilty to racketeering.

Kogilan Mudaly, who was involved in the After Dark “gentlemen’s club” in Cato Street, and the Leeds Crescent, Pinetown, brothel from 2004 to 2007, pleaded guilty in the Durban High Court on Wednesday, after he secured a plea bargain agreement with the State.

Judge Kate Pillay ordered Mudaly to pay a fine of R100 000 or face five years in jail. He was also given a 10-year jail term, wholly suspended for five years on condition that he was not convicted of an offence involving sexual exploitation in the suspension period.

Mudaly, Lionel Johnston and Thai nationals Rannsaya Suwanakoop and Pongton “Dan” Thiamtat faced 30 charges, including racketeering, money-laundering and contraventions of the sexual offences, immigration and liquor laws in 2006. In 2007, 22 Thai women, between 19 and 54, who were arrested at the brothels, pleaded guilty to prostitution and were deported.

On Wednesday, State advocate Val Dafel said the charges against Johnston were being withdrawn. According to court documents, this was because Johnston had only been the landlord at the Cato Street property and had been unaware of the brothel activities.

Dafel said both Suwanakoop and Thiamtat had absconded and warrants of arrest had been issued.

In his plea, an “extremely remorseful” Mudaly said that in 2004 he met Thiamtat, who wanted to start a business in Durban. Mudaly then leased the Cato Street property from Johnston and sub-let it to Thiamtat who used it to run a brothel with Thai prostitutes.

A second property, in Leeds Crescent, Pinetown, was bought by Mudaly and run as a brothel by Thiamtat.

Mudaly also helped in the running of the “enterprise” by taking the Thai women from the airport to the properties. In return, Mudaly used the brothels’ income to pay utility bills, the bond on the Pinetown property and rent to Johnston.

He was also paid a “commission” from the businesses for his personal use.

Mudaly’s advocate, Willie Lombard, pleaded with Judge Pillay to allow the R100 000 to be paid over terms.

“The accused has bail money of R50 000 that can be paid immediately, but we are asking if the outstanding amount can be paid in instalments. After his arrest in 2006 he was unemployed, he has incurred huge legal costs for this case and only recently started working in a family business. If he goes to jail now he will not be able to care for his family.”

Judge Pillay ordered that the remaining R50 000 be paid in two instalments before the end of the year. “This is the only concession the court is willing to grant because these are serious offences.”

The Pinetown property was seized by the Asset Forfeiture Unit as proceeds of crime and sold. - The Mercury


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