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Monday Nov 30, 2020

Accusations fly in conveyancing lawsuit

A Durban attorney has rubbished allegations of negligence made by a former client who reported him for misconduct during the conveyancing of a property transaction worth R8 million.

Provincial director of the Legal Practice Council, Pearl Arnold-mfusi, confirmed that a complaint was filed against attorney Anand Nepaul on September 30 and the matter was under investigation.

Nepaul submitted his official response to the LPC on Wednesday.

The attorney was reported to the LPC by his former client Hamlall Ramnanan who approached him in September 2014 to be the conveyancer in the purchase, sale and transfer of an office block worth R8m.

Through the course of the matter, Ramnanan represented the Sadhana and Hamlall Ramnanan Family Trust, Ritz Holding (Pty) Ltd and the Nursing and Primary Health Care Institute (Pty) Ltd.

In his complaint to the LPC, Ramnanan alleged Nepaul acted negligently by paying R4m to the seller, Interactive Trading, and its beneficiaries with money which was placed in a trust with Nepaul as per a sale and purchase agreement.

It is alleged that Nepaul made the transfers without Ramnanan's consent.

In the complaint, it was alleged Nepaul paid himself allegedly agreed fees totalling R282 315,31 with funds from the trust, and an additional cost of R56 116, 96 was incurred by and paid to Nepaul on December 9, 2015, to cover transfer fees.

It was alleged Ramnanan requested reimbursement of R4 056 116,96 but was refused.

Ramnanan was approached but declined to comment.

Nepaul was contacted for comment, and in a letter to the Sunday Tribune, said the complaint was based on falsehoods and done maliciously with the intention of harming his professional reputation.

Nepaul on Friday presented copies and outlined the three agreements which were written up, to this newspaper.

He alleged the complainant misled the situation by not disclosing the two previous agreements and surety-ships.

"I deny any negligence. I acted in accordance with the terms of a written agreement signed by Ramnanan on March 13, 2015, under-written resolution of his other directors.
"He and his attorneys have been fully aware, for at least the past five years, that I had disbursed funds paid by him," he said.

On September 4, 2014, Ramnanan was instrumental in concluding a written sale agreement for property between Interactive and his family trust - this was the first agreement.

Nepaul said under the first agreement, the purchaser, Ramnanan, was obliged to pay R3m within 30 days of signing the agreement; R3m by November 30, 2014, and R2m by the end of January 2015.

But he paid R3m on September 30, 2014, and R1m on March 11, 2015.

"That agreement was cancelled as he failed to pay the balance of R4m in accordance with the agreement and breached it. But during March 2015, he offered to buy the shares and loan accounts from all the shareholders of Interactive Trading, being the property-owning company. The shareholders agreed," he said

On March 13, 2015, Ramnanan, through a company under his control, Ritz Holding, concluded a written agreement with the shareholders of Interactive Trading for the sale of their shares and loan accounts to Ritz Holding – this was the second agreement.

"In the second agreement, Ramnanan undertook to pay Interactive Trading R4m immediately upon signing the agreement and the balance in instalments.
"That R4m was immediately payable from funds in the trust. I clearly explained the import to him. He agreed to it.

"Consequent to signing the agreement, the R4m was paid out in accordance with the second agreement," he said.

However, Ritz Holding failed to comply with its obligations for payment of the balance, and on July 14, 2015, Ramnanan concluded the third agreement, whereby the Nursing and Primary Health Care Institute made the purchase from Interactive.

"Once again, he failed to comply with the suspensive conditions in the third agreement.

"In addition, he was unable to secure the payment of VAT alternatively transfer duty and rates of approximately R1m to pay SARS and the ethekwini municipality to facilitate the transfer of the property and failed to obtain a bond timeously, and the third agreement was terminated," said Nepaul.

No money was paid consequent to the third agreement.

"He has taken two lawsuits, one against Interactive and one against me.

"I excepted to Ramnanan's claim against me in the Durban High Court, which was upheld, with costs.

"His attorney advised that he cannot afford to pay and requested to pay in instalments of R500 per month, which was rejected on Tuesday.

"The following day, Wednesday, I sent my response to the LPC, and on Thursday, I was contacted by the Sunday Tribune.

"The co-incidental nature to this sequence of events is why I believe there is malice behind this complaint," he said.

Nepaul believed the complaint was an attempt to force him into settling the two court cases.

"He has now, for the first time, some five and a half years later, after becoming aware that I had disbursed the monies, sought to allege that I had acted unprofessionally. Ramnanan knows that such allegations are false."

I acted in accordance with written agreement signed by Ramnanan Anand Nepaul ATTORNEY

Sunday Tribune 29 Nov 2020 NATHAN CRAIG


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