Hotel manageress denies fabricating evidence

2015-02-03 14:23

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Durban - A hotel manageress who claimed that the owner's wife entertained a male friend at the hotel denied in the Durban Regional Court on Tuesday that she was fabricating her evidence.

"I will say it's not a fabrication, because if I went into more detail it will cause more embarrassment," Veena Budhram, a former manager of the Inn Town Lodge and the Down Town Lodge, told the court.

She was being cross-examined by Anand Nepaul, for Dr Genchen Rugnath.

Rugnath is accused of running a brothel with young girls.

He, his wife Ravina, and their co-accused Sandile Patrick Zweni, Nonduzo Dlamini and Bhabha Dubazini, have all 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 Rugnath's hotel, the Inn Town Lodge.

During her evidence-in-chief in November, Budhram had testified that "accused number five [Ravina] was accompanied with a male friend and they would pick me up [from the 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”.

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

Nepaul on Tuesday accused her of "playing to the public gallery" and "mischief-making" with her testimony.

He accused her of stealing R50 000 a month from the business.

"Are you embarrassed?" Nepaul asked her when she objected to the question.

"I was not stealing. I was working hard to make the money," she replied.

The court heard that when she started working for Rugnath at the hotel she earned R2 500 a month and was given a room to live in at the Down Town Lodge.

Nepaul accused her of being vague about dates and "shifting" her evidence.

"I intend probing you long, hard and deep," he warned her.

Cross-examination continues.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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