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A Durban attorney has denied allegations of negligence by a former client who reported him for misconduct in submitting a R8 million real estate transaction.
The Provincial Director of the Council of Lawyers, Pearl Arnold-mfusi, confirmed that a complaint was filed against Attorney Anand Nepaul on September 30 and the matter was under investigation.
Nepaul submitted his official response to the LPC on Wednesday.
The attorney was reported to the LPC by his former client Hamlall Ramnanan, who reached out to him in September 2014 to act as an intermediary in the purchase, sale and transfer of an office building worth R8 million.
Throughout the matter, Ramnanan represented the Sadhana and Hamlall Ramnanan Family Trust, Ritz Holding (Pty) Ltd, and Nursing and Primary Health Care Institute (Pty) Ltd.
In his complaint to the LPC, Ramnanan alleged that Nepaul acted negligently by paying the seller Interactive Trading and its beneficiaries R 4 million in money that had been placed in a trust with Nepaul under a purchase and sale agreement.
It is believed that Nepaul made the transfers without Ramnanan’s consent.
The complaint alleged that Nepaul had used funds from the Trust to pay allegedly agreed fees of R 282 315.31 and that Nepaul incurred additional charges of R 56 116 96 on December 9, 2015 to cover transfer fees.
It was alleged that Ramnanan requested reimbursement of R4 056 116.96 but was denied.
Ramnanan was approached, declined to comment.
Nepaul was asked for a comment and a letter to the Sunday Tribune stated that the complaint was based on falsehood and was maliciously made to damage his professional reputation.
Nepaul presented copies on Friday and outlined the three agreements that were written for that newspaper.
He alleged that the complainant misled the situation by failing to disclose the two previous agreements and guarantees.
“I deny any negligence. I have acted under the terms of a written agreement signed by Ramnanan on March 13, 2015, agreed in writing by his other directors.
“He and his lawyers have been fully aware for at least five years that I have disbursed funds from him,” he said.
On September 4, 2014, Ramnanan was instrumental in signing a written property purchase agreement between Interactive and his family business – this was the first contract.
Under the initial agreement, Nepaul said buyer Ramnanan would be required to pay R3m within 30 days of signing the agreement. R3m by November 30, 2014 and R2m by the end of January 2015.
But he paid R3m on September 30, 2014 and R1m on March 11, 2015.
“This agreement was canceled because he failed to pay the balance of R4m under the agreement and he violated it. However, in March 2015, he offered to buy the shares and loan accounts of all of the shareholders of
Interactive trading as a real estate company. The shareholders agreed, ”he said
On March 13, 2015, Ramnanan entered into a written agreement with the shareholders of Interactive Trading through a company he controlled, Ritz Holding, to sell their shares and loan accounts to Ritz Holding – this was the second agreement.
“In the second agreement, Ramnanan undertook to pay Interactive Trading R4m in installments immediately after signing the agreement and the balance.
“These R4m had to be paid for immediately from funds of the trust. I clearly explained the import to him. He agreed to that.
“After the agreement was signed, the R4m was paid out under the second agreement,” he said.
The Ritz Holding, however, failed to meet its obligations to pay the balance, and on July 14, 2015, Ramnanan entered into the third agreement whereby the Institute of Nursing and Primary Health Care purchased Interactive.
“Once again he failed to comply with the conditions precedent of the third agreement.
“In addition, he was unable to secure payment of VAT, alternatively transfer fees and rates of around R1 million to pay SARS and the Ethekwini Municipality to facilitate the transfer of ownership, and was unable to borrow in time received, and the third contract was canceled. Said Nepaul.
No money was paid as a result of the third agreement.
“He has filed two lawsuits, one against Interactive and one against me.
“I excluded Ramnanan’s lawsuit against me in the Durban Supreme Court, which was upheld with costs.
“His attorney pointed out that he could not afford to pay and requested payment in installments of R500 per month, which was denied Tuesday.
“The following day, Wednesday, I sent my reply to the LPC and on Thursday I was contacted by the Sunday Tribune.
“The random nature of this series of events is why I believe that there is malice behind this complaint,” he said.
Nepaul believed the complaint was an attempt to force him to settle the two lawsuits.
“He has now tried for the first time, about five and a half years later, after noticing that I had paid out the funds, to claim that I was acting unprofessionally. Ramnanan knows that such allegations are false. “