Hawthorndene plot thickens

Any prospective buyer of the Hawthorndene Hotel, faces many challenges.

GEORGE NEWS - The controversial former liquidator of the Hawthorndene Hotel, Mohamed Patel, who is being sought for the disappearance of millions of rand involved in South African liquidations, has apparently been traced to Dubai.
 
This is according to Leonard Katz, the newly-appointed legal eagle and director of ENSafrica insolvency, business rescue and debt recovery firm.
 
Katz was appointed to act for the liquidators of Pluscor and Natserve, the companies that own the Hawthorndene building. He will assist the auditing companies Mazars and KMP who were appointed by the Master of the Supreme Court to resolve the legal issues the old building is mired in.
 
Patel, who was appointed as liquidator for Pluscor in 2007 and for Natserve in 2013, was removed as liquidator last year when his nefarious business activities including his qualification as lawyer was brought into question.
 
British buyer
Katz revealed that Patel may also be facing claims from the British businessman Abdul Latief Parker who paid a deposit to buy Hawthorndene Hotel last year. Parker's attorneys in Cape Town, Brian Lutzno Krause, are expected to put in a claim against Patel's insolvent estate.
 
Katz said this week there should be an investigation into the affairs of Patel and he should be charged with fraud and theft. "Patel has been sequestrated. I acted in that matter for Darusha Moodliar who replaced Patel as the liquidator of the Coe Family Trust." He claims Patel stole more than R9-million from the Coe Family Trust.
 
"It is interesting that Patel stole the R9-million in 2014 and 2015, long after the problems with Hawthorndene arose," he said.
 
"It is my view that, had the office of the Master of the High Court done their job properly, Patel would have been taken off the liquidators' panel years ago. This would have limited the damage caused by Patel and would have saved creditors millions of rand. This is why, in my view, the Master should be called to account in this regard. I am particularly upset about this as a some of my clients have been seriously prejudiced by Patel's conduct. Please note that this is my own personal view. I understand that Patel has fled SA and the last I heard he was in Dubai."
 
Pluscor deregistered
Katz explained further complications in the Hawthorndene's saga. "As Mr Patel was never properly authorised to sell the Hawthorndene building, the liquidators are obliged to apply to court for an extension of their powers so that they can sell and effect transfer of the Hawthorndene building. The draft applications have been prepared.
 
A further complication is that Pluscor was deregistered on 16 July 2010 and the liquidators will have to apply to court for an order voiding the deregistration. This application can be done in tandem with the application for powers. The George Municipality has a claim for R3,8-million to recover rates and taxes owed from the time the hotel was placed in liquidation.
 
The George Municipality has worked very closely with KPMG, Mazars and me to to resolve the very complicated issues relating to this matter. In particular, the municipality's attorney, Arlene Smit, has been excellent.
 
She responds promptly and helpfully. I have no doubt that the matter will be resolved and that will be in a large measure due to the municipality's flexibility and commercial approach."
 
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ARTICLE: PAULINE LOURENS, GEORGE HERALD JOURNALIST 
 
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