Assets: Badul back in court

2011-04-07 00:00

AN advocate representing former police director Hariram Badul has submitted that the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) acted in bad faith and abused the process of court by restraining Badul’s government pension fund last August.

The NDPP agreed to release the pension back to Badul on November 22, after he had applied for it to be excluded from the restraint order on the basis that pension monies cannot be attached in law, and that he had no other means of support.

Advocate Rob Seggie SC submitted yesterday that when the NDPP obtained the order, the state well knew that no court would be able to order the attachment of a pension fund, and should be ordered to pay costs.

These questions and other issues are to be decided soon by acting Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Kobus Booyens, who yesterday reserved judgment on an application by the NDPP seeking to confirm a restraint order over assets belonging to Badul, his wife Monica and four of Badul’s co-accused — Suresh Naraindath, Yunus Khan, Bhekuyise Patrick Nkabini and Sigamoney Pillay — and their respective spouses.

This would mean that if convicted of any of the 128 counts of racketeering, fraud, corruption, theft and money laundering pending against them, the state could apply for an order confiscating all or at least some of the property in question, to whatever value they are found to have benefited from their crimes.

The state initially obtained an order to restrain Badul’s entire government pension, along with his R1,2 million home in Coronet Place and other assets, as well as the assets of his co-accused.

Only Badul and his ex-wife, Monica, opposed the court order, resulting in Badul winning back his pension. In addition — as a result of the revelation that the couple had divorced on July 8, last year, (before Badul’s assets were seized) — Monica Badul also won back her share of the Mountain Rise property and the proceeds of a fixed deposit investment account with Nedbank.

The NDPP, however, maintains the state is still entitled to restrain Badul’s half share of the property, even though it is alleged that he had ceded that to his ex-wife as well, in lieu of maintenance, in terms of their divorce settlement.

Monica’s advocate, Lawrence Combrink, submitted in argument before the judge that even if Badul is convicted, the house is therefore not a “realisable asset” that can be confiscated, and should therefore not be subject to restraint.

Advocate Mike Govindasamy, SC, for the NDPP argued, however, that this issue is one that ought to be decided in the future if there is an application for confiscation of the assets, and the property should be restrained in the meantime.

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