Lotto winner claims he didn't squander fortune

2014-02-26 13:04
Dayalin Maslamoney (Shan Pillay, The Witness)

Dayalin Maslamoney (Shan Pillay, The Witness)

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Ingrid Oellermann, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg - Former lottery winner and theft accused Dayalin Maslamoney doesn't have a cent to his name today - but he says he didn’t squander his R10.4m winnings, despite what people may think.

Instead, Maslamoney, 39, alleges his ex-wife, Reena - to whom he allegedly gave power of attorney over the money early on - got the lion’s share.

Speaking outside the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, he said he had now instructed his attorney Siva Chetty to sue for his half of the assets she allegedly “took” when their divorce was finalised last November. Chetty confirmed the instruction.

Attempts to get comment from his ex-wife were fruitless.

Divorce

Maslamoney won the fortune in April 2009 and later that year his wife brought an urgent interdict to have a court order against him and Absa Bank, with whom the money was invested, to stop him from spending prior to her divorce action being finalised.

If the pair had stayed married they would have celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary on Monday.

He admits reconciliation seems unlikely because his former wife will not speak to him.

Acting on legal advice, Maslamoney, a former police officer, did not want to discuss the criminal charges facing him - theft of R250 by false pretences and impersonating a police officer. However, he denies committing the crimes and said he intends pleading not guilty.

Maslamoney also denied he wasted the lottery money on lavish parties, and buying liquor and drugs for his friends.

Although he did “hang out and enjoy a few drinks” with friends, he said he gave substantial amounts of money to various charities and to his church, where he also established a feeding scheme.

He and his wife had bought a house in Chase Valley, Pietermaritzburg, for R1.7m; he bought and sold several cars - of which his ex-wife allegedly still possessed three; and they invested R1m for their young daughter, which remained untouched.

“We treated her [his ex-wife’s] family and my family all the same,” he added.

He said each of their three siblings received a R40 000 gift, and their parents were not forgotten.

“Her father had passed away so her mother got R25 000 and I renovated her house for her. My dad also got R25 000 and I refurnished his flat,” said Maslamoney.

“If you add it all up it easily comes to R10m,” he said.

Regret

Maslamoney said he now regretted winning the lottery.

“My wife and I did have marital problems when I was still in the police, but money changed her. Now she won’t even speak to me on the phone,” he said.

He alleged that within a week of him winning the lottery, his wife first sued for divorce although they eventually reconciled. He suspected this was because she feared he would be “too lavish” and spend all the money.

As a policeman with 18 years’ service at that time, many of his friends in the police had dropped by to congratulate him and this had upset his wife. “I never gave my friends any money but there was alcohol involved. We’d have some drinks, which she didn’t like,” he said.

Maslamoney said he now believed it was a mistake to let people know that he had won the lottery, but at the time he “let it out” because he was so excited.

He won the money on a R40 “quick pick” ticket which his wife bought for him at a local garage after he gave her the money to do so, he said.

The case, in which he is charged together with a co-accused, Zaheer Khan, 35, was adjourned to 17 March when Khan might bring a renewed bail application.

While Maslamoney was granted bail of R2 000 at his previous appearance, magistrate Celemusa Zungu refused to give Khan bail as he has a previous conviction for theft and a pending case for possession of stolen property.

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