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Durban - Property mogul Jay Singh fired a warning at his detractors, including the media, saying that Friday’s High Court ruling that went in his favour won’t be his last victory.
“I am very happy with the decision. This will not be my last court victory, my name will be cleared in other legal issues that I’m facing,” Singh predicted.
In April the Asset Forfeiture Unit swooped and seized control of the Woodglaze Trading low-cost housing complexes in Phoenix that comprise 1 224 units, which are part of four blocks of flats at the housing project. The unit also froze R101.764 million of Singh’s cash.
The company lists his ex-wife Shireen Annamalay and his son, Ravi Jagadasan, as its directors. Singh is the chief executive.
On Friday, Judge Peter Olsen ruled that control of the complexes be handed back to Woodglaze, but not the cash.
Singh has been widely vilified over alleged shoddy construction, corrupt wheeling and dealing to acquire ownership of property, and the collapsed Tongaat Shopping Mall, which claimed the lives of two workers.
The National Prosecuting Authority alleges that Woodglaze hatched a plan to acquire R238m from the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) by setting up a social housing company Moko Rental Housing Project.
But Singh claims he’s an upstanding businessman and has done nothing wrong. “The truth will always prevail,” he said.
“Moko is a company that is controlled by family and some other directors. Woodglaze sold the property to Moko – there’s nothing corrupt about that.”
Singh said that Moko is a Section 21 company that qualified for grants of this nature. According to him, “it was a good business plan and there was nothing wrong with the deal”.
Instead, he claimed it was already convicted by the media even before the matter went to court.
“In fact, I never knew about the pending action against Woodglaze (seizure), but learnt about it through a newspaper article,” said Singh .
“That paper (a daily newspaper) has made defamatory allegations against me. They will be dealt with legally at a later stage,” he warned.
On Thursday, when his integrity allegedly came into question in the hall of the Pietermaritzburg High Court, the venue for his latest court battle, Singh rose to the occasion.
His long-time detractor Mervin Govender allegedly called Singh a “fraudster” during the interval. Govender has been very critical of the Woodglaze development.
“Mervin (Govender) was taking my picture. I didn’t approve of that, so I asked him to stop,” said Singh.
He alleged that Govender called him a fraudster and an argument erupted.
When asked about claims that Singh slapped Govender, he said: “That’s for the law to decide.”
Govender insists he didn’t instigate the incident, but rather that it was Singh who approached him and said: “Boss, do you know who I am?”
“It was my first face to face meeting with Singh. He then poked his finger in my face and slapped me, and one of his henchmen kicked me,” Govender claimed.
Govender has subsequently opened a charge of assault against Singh.