NEWS

Funds Trustee To Pay $96K To Prakash

Mr Prakash instructed former lawyer Gyaneshwar Prakash Lala, as his solicitor, to carry out the transaction. Mr Lala was running a law practice from 94 Waimanu Road, Suva under the name of GP Lala and Associates and operated a trust account at the Bank of Baroda, Suva.
25 Jun 2020 12:05
Funds Trustee To Pay $96K To Prakash

The Independent Legal Service Commission has ordered the Funds Trustee to pay businessman, Praveen Prakash, $96,900.

Independent Legal Service Commissioner, Justice Daniel Goundar, in his ruling, said Mr Prakash had succeeded with his application for reimbursement of money from the Fidelity Fund.

“I award him special interest at the rate of three per cent per annum from the date the application was filed (May 10, 2018) until the payment is made from the Fidelity Fund, but not any costs for this application.”

The orders of the commission are:

  • The application is allowed.
  • The Funds Trustee shall pay Mr Prakash a sum of $96,900 with interest at the rate of three per cent from the date of the application was filed (May 10, 2018) until the payment is made from the Fidelity Fund.
  • Mr Prakash is to bear his own costs for this application.

Mr Prakash, on April 19, 2011, entered into a sale and purchase agreement to purchase his interest in a property in Samabula, Suva for $96,000 from a vendor.

Mr Prakash instructed former lawyer Gyaneshwar Prakash Lala, as his solicitor, to carry out the transaction. Mr Lala was running a law practice from 94 Waimanu Road, Suva under the name of GP Lala and Associates and operated a trust account at the Bank of Baroda, Suva.

Between April 18 and April 28, 2011, Mr Prakash made payments of $500, the initial deposit, $1900 for stamp duty and $90,000, the balance sum.

These payments were reflected in Mr Lala’s trust account. The conveyancing transaction didn’t proceed to settlement due to reasons attributed to the vendor.

On or about June 18, 2012, Mr Prakash, through another lawyer, wrote to Mr Lala to inquire about his conveyancing transaction but Mr Lala did not respond.

On or about September 2012, Mr Prakash came to know that Mr Lala’s practice had closed down as ordered by the court. By this time, Mr Lala’s trust account was still active with a balance of about $5000.

During this period, Mr Lala had moved to the United States of America.

On or about October 2012, Mr Prakash learned that his funds had been withdrawn from Mr Lala’s trust account without his knowledge or instruction. He instituted a civil action against Mr Lala to recover his money.

On April 30, 2013, Mr Prakash obtained a judgment by default against Mr Lala in the sum of $96,900 and costs of $325.

Mr Prakash made attempts to recover the judgment amount by filing further actions, but all failed because Mr Lala had left Fiji.

The last audit report of Mr Lala’s trust account was submitted for the period ending September 30, 2010. The total balance sum in the trust account in 2010 after the audit was $395,464.81.

On May 28, 2013, the Chief Registrar appointed a receiver to wind up Mr Lala’s practice, who noted that Mr Prakash’s complaint regarding his missing trust funds remained unresolved.

An audit carried out by Parker Business Solutions (Fiji) in 2016 found Mr Lala had not kept proper accounting and other records of his trust account after 2010.

Mr Prakash after exhausting all legal avenues for recovery filed this application to recover his loss from the Fidelity Fund.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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