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NDLOVU ESTATE: ‘MASTER GAVE KNOX FREE HAND’

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MBABANE - The Master of the High Court is reported to have received objections to various liquidation and distribution accounts lodged by the executor in the estate of the late Calvin Ndlovu but failed to rule on any.

According to Nellie Ndlovu, the wife of the late Calvin, the executor, Knox  Mshumayeli Nxumalo, allegedly had a free hand and had not been called upon to account by the Master, whose duty is to hold the latter to account for the administration and distribution of the estate.

The estate has not been distributed but its bank account is allegedly now left with a measly sum of E851.25.

Calvin was a well-known businessman and father of Ludzidzini Council member and former Cabinet Minister Hlobisile Ndlovu. 

 

non-distribution

The businessman owned a number of properties in Pigg’s Peak and he died on February 17, 2001.

The alleged dwindling of the estate’s bank account and non-distribution of same has resulted in the wife and children of the late businessman taking the executor, Nxumalo, reputable law firm Robinson Bertram and the Master of the High Court to the High Court.

Among other orders, the aggrieved beneficiaries want the court to direct Nxumalo (executor) and the law firm to render an account in respect of all the estate monies deposited into the latter’s (Robinson Bertram) bank account or any bank account.

According to Nellie, the Master of the High Court has allegedly failed to discharge her duty in accordance with the Administration of Estates Act of 1902. She contended that it was not clear why the Master of the High Court was not performing her statutory functions in as far as the estate was concerned.

“For close to 20 years, the estate has not been distributed. She has allowed the first respondent (executor) to distribute benefits to some of the beneficiaries and not the applicants,” contended Nellie. These are allegations whose veracity is still to be tested and the respondents are yet to file their papers since they are opposing the application.

The applicants are Nellie (wife), Bright Ndlovu, Qondile Ndlovu, Khibika Ndlovu, Gcebile Ndlovu, Mduna Ndlovu, Seth Ndlovu, Siphetfo Ndlovu and Manqoba Ndlovu. 

The applicants are represented by senior lawyer Mangaliso Magagula of Magagula and Hlophe Attorneys.

Nellie went on to allege that the Master had not been impartial in her supervision of the estate.   This, according to Nellie, made it necessary that the Master should be called upon to account to the court for her supervision of the estate.

She averred that this could be done by her (Master) filing with the registrar reports of what she was doing to wind up the estate. Nellie also brought it to the attention of the court that the beneficiaries had given up that the Master of the High Court was capable of supervising the winding up of the estate on her own.

“She has failed to do so for almost 20 years. It is in the interest of justice and the beneficiaries of the estate that the executor and the Master of the High Court be compelled to discharge their duties and to report to the High Court about their actions in winding up the estate,” contended Nellie.

 

interest

She submitted that it would not be in the interest of the beneficiaries to remove the executor as it was necessary for him to account for his administration of the estate. Nellie argued that if the executor was removed, he would allegedly not account for the estate and interest of same would be served better if he was directed to account.  

She pointed out that a court order would serve to compel him to discharge his obligation at the pain of contempt of court if he did not comply.

Meanwhile, the executor has instructed lawyers from CJ Littler and Company to defend him in the matter.  On behalf of the executor, the lawyers from the aforementioned law firm have since filed a notice of intention to oppose the matter.   

Also opposing the application is Robinson Bertram law firm, which has been cited as the second respondent.

The executor and Robinson Bertram law firm are still to file detailed papers outlining why they are opposing the application. The matter briefly appeared before Judge Sipho Nkosi last Friday and it is still pending in court.

The beneficiaries want the court to direct Nxumalo and the law firm to render an account of all the monies within 21 days.

Some of Calvin’s properties were leased out to businesses which included Ellerines, Build It, Shoprite, Furniture Warehouse, UniCellular and Dunns. Others were Health Care Pharmacy, SS Tyres, Peak Butchery, Metro Salon, Jazz Time, AK Baz Investments, individual tenants at Killarney flats and tenants under property managers, Buzzby Services.

Since the estate is yet to be distributed, all rentals collected from the properties were supposed to be deposited into the estate’s bank account.

 

application

In the application, Nellie, who deposed to the main affidavit, submitted that during the period of 2001 to 2012, the executor stopped her from collecting the rentals and took over this function.  She said she deposited the rentals she had been collecting into the estate’s bank account.

Nellie said she was responsible for collecting the rentals during her husband’s lifetime and it was for that reason that she continued with the collections until she was informed by the executor that he would do the collection himself.

“At the time, the estate bank account had a sum of E3.6 million. Part of the money received by the estate account consisted of rentals from estate properties leased out to tenants. The estate has not been distributed and all monies collected from the properties are supposed to be deposited into the estate bank account,” says Nellie.

According to Nellie, the Will bequeathed to her the residue of the estate after distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries.

Nellie pointed out that the other applicants in the matter, who are beneficiaries in the estate, were also bequeathed various properties and money as provided in the Will and Codicils.



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