Lawyers defend auctioning house for N$168 debt

Lawyers defend auctioning house for N$168 debt

THE law firm that instructed the court to sell the house of an elderly Mariental woman to recover a N$168 debt she owed a butchery maintains it gave her four chances to pay the debt.

Garbers Associates maintains that Sanna Dugeleni had nine months to postpone the sale or to inform them if she had difficulty in paying them but, they claim, she never bothered to respond. “The conduct of the debtor during this ordeal clearly indicated that she never had the intention to repay the balance, but (that) she only attempted to delay execution for her own benefit,” charges SC Garbers, who owns the law firm.Dugeleni was evicted from the house after she failed to pay N$168 she owed a local butchery.She and her two grandchildren now find themselves living in the house of another local resident.Her family have approached the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) to challenge what they believe is a “morally corrupt sale”.Garbers says that although the initial amount that Dugeleni owed Ry en Kry Butchery was N$168, it increased to more than N$3 475 because of legal costs, messenger fees and advertisements incurred as a direct result of her failure to honour her obligations.The butchery got a default judgement against Dugeleni in May 2001 but Garbers claimed she stayed away for a year until her house was attached in June 2002.According to the law firm, she came to them to arrange payments but failed to do… Her son Christy Dugeleni made a similar arrangement, but also failed to deliver, the law firm says.Dugeleni said she had made a few payments up to N$700 and stopped when she could no longer afford them.Garbers claims that [payment] was only to prolong the execution to her own advantage.The house was subsequently sold on auction to one of the law firm’s employees, Melanie Bamberger, for a mere N$1 800.Bamberger, in turn, offered to sell the house back to Dugeleni for N$20 000.However, Dugeleni was unable to raise the money and Bamberger sold the house to someone else for N$25 000.Garbers denies that the company was involved in underhand deals.He says the auction was “duly advertised and conducted in accordance with law”.”Furthermore, the law does not preclude any employee of a legal firm to take part in an execution sale,” he says.Garbers adds that they have reserved the right to institute legal action against The Namibian or Dugeleni whom, he says, alleged underhand deals.According to the lawyer, it could be construed to be morally wrong to sell a house for a N$168 debt.However, he contends, “the lackadaisical approach of the debtor and her persistent and blatant disregard of three undertakings and responsibility” left them “with no choice” but to proceed with the execution.For him “the question to be asked… is how moral is the conduct of the debtor with her clear intention not to repay a supplier after she received food and made repayment offers.”He alleges that Dugeleni intentionally omitted to inform The Namibian that Bamberger offered to let her stay in the house for a further 60 days so that she could arrange for alternative accommodation.He maintains it was not a “morally corrupt sale” because Dugeleni allegedly had the money to pay but had only chosen to do so when in trouble.The Dugeleni family are currently being housed by Thomas Hiskia.”The conduct of the debtor during this ordeal clearly indicated that she never had the intention to repay the balance, but (that) she only attempted to delay execution for her own benefit,” charges SC Garbers, who owns the law firm.Dugeleni was evicted from the house after she failed to pay N$168 she owed a local butchery.She and her two grandchildren now find themselves living in the house of another local resident.Her family have approached the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) to challenge what they believe is a “morally corrupt sale”.Garbers says that although the initial amount that Dugeleni owed Ry en Kry Butchery was N$168, it increased to more than N$3 475 because of legal costs, messenger fees and advertisements incurred as a direct result of her failure to honour her obligations.The butchery got a default judgement against Dugeleni in May 2001 but Garbers claimed she stayed away for a year until her house was attached in June 2002.According to the law firm, she came to them to arrange payments but failed to do… Her son Christy Dugeleni made a similar arrangement, but also failed to deliver, the law firm says.Dugeleni said she had made a few payments up to N$700 and stopped when she could no longer afford them.Garbers claims that [payment] was only to prolong the execution to her own advantage.The house was subsequently sold on auction to one of the law firm’s employees, Melanie Bamberger, for a mere N$1 800.Bamberger, in turn, offered to sell the house back to Dugeleni for N$20 000.However, Dugeleni was unable to raise the money and Bamberger sold the house to someone else for N$25 000.Garbers denies that the company was involved in underhand deals.He says the auction was “duly advertised and conducted in accordance with law”.”Furthermore, the law does not preclude any employee of a legal firm to take part in an execution sale,” he says.Garbers adds that they have reserved the right to institute legal action against The Namibian or Dugeleni whom, he says, alleged underhand deals.According to the lawyer, it could be construed to be morally wrong to sell a house for a N$168 debt.However, he contends, “the lackadaisical approach of the debtor and her persistent and blatant disregard of three undertakings and responsibility” left them “with no choice” but to proceed with the execution.For him “the question to be asked… is how moral is the conduct of the debtor with her clear intention not to repay a supplier after she received food and made repayment offers.”He alleges that Dugeleni intentionally omitted to inform The Namibian that Bamberger offered to let her stay in the house for a further 60 days so that she could arrange for alternative accommodation.He maintains it was not a “morally corrupt sale” because Dugeleni allegedly had the money to pay but had only chosen to do so when in trouble.The Dugeleni family are currently being housed by Thomas Hiskia.

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