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Durban - The Durban High Court has ordered that a curator be appointed to assess the mental capacity of an ailing businessman after allegations that his first wife tried to “remove him under police guard” from his second wife’s home amid squabbles over his assets.
The curator, Dhiraj Ramdhani, would interview Krishnan Maistry, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer, and have him assessed by a psychiatrist or psychologist.
The court also directed that reports be filed on whether Maistry had the mental capacity to manage his own affairs.
The application was brought by Maistry’s second wife, Melissa Naicker, who said she was being denied access to Maistry by his first wife, Maithri.
She said Maistry, 53, who was blind and bedridden, had gone to “visit” Maithri’s home in April and had not returned.
She said her husband’s considerable assets were in jeopardy, including two properties, shares and investment annuities.
He had also been paid out R3.9-million from his insurers owing to his illness.
Naicker said she was married to Maistry under customary rites in February and they had intended to marry legally once his divorce from Maithri was finalised.
She said Maistry and Maithri had signed a settlement agreement about the distribution of assets last year, but did not get divorced.
Naicker said the trouble began after Maistry was diagnosed last year with stage four brain cancer.
After he had an operation to remove a brain tumour, he had a stroke and became paralysed on the right side.
Naicker said Maistry had asked her to attend to his financial affairs and gave her power of attorney to access his bank accounts.
She said Maithri became aware of this arrangement and brought an interdict application to prevent the banks from paying over more than half of the funds in the accounts.
While Maithri did not file papers in this case, in her affidavit for the interdict application, she said Naicker had taken control of her husband’s financial affairs.
Maithri was not willing to abide by the settlement agreement because Maistry had not revealed the true extent of his assets to her.
The interdict case was set down for argument, but was subsequently removed from the roll.
Naicker said that after Maistry’s condition deteriorated, Maithri asked that he be brought to her home.
She said in April, Maistry’s daughter and brother-in-law came to her Berea home, accompanied by police officers, and attempted to remove Maistry in an ambulance, but owing to his ill health they did not take him away.
Later that month, Maistry agreed to go on a “visit” to Maithri’s home and had been living there since.
“I accompanied Krishnan to Maithri’s home and ensured he was comfortable. It was clearly understood by all that after a few weeks he would return to our home.”
Since April, she had been allowed to see Maistry only on brief occasions and had been allowed only one visit since June.
Her power of attorney had been cancelled and Maithri had replaced her as a beneficiary on one of Maistry’s life insurance policies.
“I was surprised by this (removal of power of attorney) as I doubted his mental capacity to issue any instructions to his bankers.
“I have no knowledge as to how the (beneficiary) change occurred and this requires full and proper investigation,” Naicker said.