Couple ‘forced’ to take loan

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An elderly La Mercy couple who were “forced” to take a loan of R650 000 have been granted an interim restraining order against the people they had borrowed money from.

The couple told the Durban High Court they might lose their home and feared for their safety and that of their family, after alleged threats from the people they had borrowed the money from.

The couple claimed in papers submitted to Judge Rashid Vahed in the Durban High Court last week that they had been threatened and intimidated into signing over their property.

Anandraj Dookhi, 56, and his wife, Chundalawath, 51, said that they had been warned of a “bloodbath” after they battled with the repayments.

In court papers, the couple said that they had borrowed money from a businessman. They said a Durban attorney had handled the transaction and the loan repayments.

The respondents have not been named as they were not able to be part of the court application last Wednesday due to its urgency.

The attorney, the businessman, as well as a “policeman”, have all been restrained from transferring ownership

of the couple’s property.

They are also restrained from entering the couple’s home and from interfering with them in any way.

The respondents have until tomorrow to show cause why the interim order should not be made final.

Dookhi said he approached a private company for the loan in September to buy trucks for a business venture. He said he could not secure a bank loan as both he and his wife were unemployed.

Dookhi said he was referred to a private individual who “was in the business of providing loans”.

When asked if he had any assets that could be used as a lien for the loan, Dookhi said he mentioned a property held in their family trust’s name and was asked to provide the title deed. He was told a loan of R500 000 had been approved and and that he should meet someone at Davenport Centre to sign the documents.

Dookhi described a meeting at an attorney’s office, which they were driven to by another man identified only as a policeman. The couple said they began to feel uncomfortable when they saw both men carried guns, but had no choice but to stay. They learnt it was the attorney who was providing the loan and said they were made to sign papers, including a transfer of property and sale agreement, at the offices of another attorney

. Dookhi said that when he protested, he was assaulted and told to “just keep quiet and sign the agreement”.

Later that evening they said the attorney gave them part of the money in cash.

Following what they allege was a traumatic experience, the couple said they decided to return the money

. However, when they contacted the businessman, he allegedly said that if they cancelled he would do “something bad” to their family.

Dookhi said in his affidavit that he later learnt that it was not the attorney who had provided the loan, but another businessman, whom he described as a “gangster”.

Two electronic payments totalling R250 000 were later deposited into his bank account, Dookhi said. “I entertained these payments because I was afraid and thought by accepting payment we would be able to stave off harm to ourselves and our family,” he said.

The couple said they were made to sign an acknowledgment of debt for R650 000.

They said they battled with the last few payments.

The attorney’s secretary allegedly called them and said they would be a “bloodbath at their house” if the money was not paid immediately.

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