Delay in court as house fraud pair hustle fees

2011-10-18 00:00

THERE have been repeated delays in the sentencing of a Pietermaritzburg couple, Ashnee Singh (39) and Dinesh Lutchman (37), who have been convicted of fraudulently attempting to deprive a local homeowner of her house because the accused have been trying to raise funds to brief an advocate, regional magistrate Chris van Vuuren was told yesterday.

The accused’s attorney, Viren Naidoo, assured the magistrate yesterday that he has secured the services of an advocate to represent the couple on Monday, October 24.

He told the court Singh and Lutchman have struggled to raise the funds to pay for their legal representation and have been asking family and friends for assistance.

After selling certain assets they are in a position to pay.

The pair were found guilty on August 8 of presenting a fake deed of sale to an attorney with the intention of fraudulently taking transfer of the property at 555 Burger Street.

The home belongs to Rowena Padayachee, who testified that she inherited it from her mother and intends to pass it on to her children.

She rented the property to Lutchman and Singh, who she claimed failed to pay their rent.

Soon after she instructed an agency to evict the couple she received a call from a lawyer asking her to sign transfer papers in respect of the property even though she had never signed a deed of sale or considered selling her house.

Lutchman and Singh continued living in the house pending finalisation of the case.

Padayachee told The Witness at the time of the judgment that she has been waiting seven years for the outcome of the case so that she can reclaim possession of her home.

Sentencing was postponed in September when Singh failed to come to court, claiming illness. She was arrested after the court was shown CCTV footage of her at the Golden Horse Casino the previous night.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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