Hotel manageress catered for customers in underage brothel

2015-03-11 21:23

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Durban - A hotel manageress was making a monthly profit of R25 000 selling food to the customers of a hotel owned by a doctor accused of running a brothel with young girls, the Durban Regional Court heard on Wednesday.

Veena Budhram told the court she would make a profit of between R25 000 and R30 000 a month from the catering enterprise she operated at one of her boss's two hotels without his permission.

Budhram was being re-examined in the case of Dr Genchen Rugnath, who is accused of running a brothel from his hotel, Durban's Inn Town Lodge.

He, his wife Ravina, and their co-accused Sandile Patrick Zweni, Nonduzo Dlamini and Bhabha Dubazini, have pleaded not guilty to 156 charges, including assault, rape, sexual exploitation of a child, and racketeering.

Zweni allegedly operated a prostitution ring with girls as young as 12 from the Inn Town Lodge with the Rugnaths' consent and knowledge.

During cross-examination earlier this year, Rugnath's lawyer Anand Nepaul accused Budhram of stealing R50 000 a month from the business.

She denied the allegation.

"I was not stealing. I was working hard to make the money," Budhram replied at the time.

The court heard that when she started working for Rugnath in 2002 she earned R2 500 a month and was given a room to live in at Rugnath's other hotel that she managed - the Down Town Lodge. It had restaurant from which hotel customers could order food. However, Budhram provided food and billed the customers separately.

On Wednesday she said her salary was increased to R4 000 a month in 2004.

She also earned additional money for running her nephew's lodge, the Kampara Inn. This amounted to about R14 000 a month.

"I made more from the catering business," she said.

Budhram was initially arrested with the five accused in 2012, but turned State witness.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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