Child sex case: Owners were aware of prostitution

2014-11-06 21:34

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Durban - Hotel rooms at the centre of a child sex trial were not only used by prostitutes but also by the hotel owner's wife and her partner, the Durban Regional Court heard on Thursday.

Veena Budhram, a former manager of the Inn Town Lodge and the Down Town Lodge in Durban, told the court that Dr Genchen Rugnath's wife Ravina had used the rooms three or four times.

The Rugnaths have been charged along with Sandile Patrick Zweni, Nonduzo Dlamini and Bhabha Dubazini. They have pleaded not guilty to 156 charges, including assault, rape, sexual exploitation of a child, and racketeering.

Zweni allegedly operated a prostitution ring from the hotel.

Rugnath claims he knew nothing about prostitution taking place at the Inn Town Lodge, in the notorious Point Road area known for its red-light activities, and left the running of his hotel to Budhram. His wife has claimed she was a housewife and had no involvement in the running of the hotel.

Asked by prosecutor Yuri Gangai on Thursday whether she agreed with these claims, Budhram said: "I would not believe that. He was fully aware of the prostitution that was taking place at Inn Town Lodge.

"Accused number five [Ravina] was fully aware of the prostitution that was taking place."

Asked whether Rugnath's wife had any involvement in the running of the hotels, she said that Ravina Rugnath would inspect the rooms and the books.

She said the Rugnaths came to the two hotels together and individually.

It was during this line of questioning that it emerged that Rugnath had used one of the hotel rooms.

"Accused number five was accompanied with (sic) a male friend and they would pick me up [from Down Town Lodge] and they used to go to Inn Town Lodge. She would ask for a room key. With her male partner she used to use one of the rooms upstairs," said Budhram.

She said this had happened "three or four times".

The case was adjourned to 1 December.

Read more on:    durban  |  child abuse  |  crime

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