Rul­ing opens door to de­mo­li­tion

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

BULLDOZERS can be ready to de­mol­ish Pankaj and Rad­hika Oswal’s un­fin­ished Pep­per­mint Grove man­sion at dawn on Oc­to­ber 1 now that the Fed­eral Court has ruled a mort­gage over the un­fin­ished prop­erty is void.

“I now fully in­tend to put out a ten­der for the de­mo­li­tion in the next cou­ple of weeks,” Shire of Pep­per­mint Grove chief ex­ec­u­tive John Mer­rick told the Western Suburbs Weekly.

The Oswals’ un­fin­ished, In­di­anstyle man­sion has be­come an eye­sore to neigh­bours since the cou­ple left Perth af­ter their Pil­bara fer­tiliser plant went into re­ceiver­ship in 2010.

The coun­cil con­tin­ues to al­lege the Oswals owe $108,000 in rates, while the Aus­tralian Tax­a­tion Of­fice claims the cou­ple owe $198 mil­lion in tax. The the State Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal has or­dered the cou­ple de­mol­ish the man­sion by Septem­ber 30.

Last Wed­nes­day, the Fed­eral Court in Melbourne found Mrs Oswal had de­frauded cred­i­tors when she trans­ferred the man­sion’s mort­gage to a Dubai hold­ing com­pany whose only di­rec­tor was her brother in 2010.

Mr Mer­rick said the court’s find­ing meant cred­i­tors could now serve no­tices on the Oswals to re­cover claimed debts, and he ex­pected a no­tice for the al­legedly owed rates would have been served by the end of last week.

He said there had been no re­sponses to mul­ti­ple re­quests for the rates in the past, but cred­i­tors could now threaten the man­sion’s sale, and the dis­posal of the Oswal’s Dalkeith home, to ob­tain their cash.

Any suc­cess­ful de­mo­li­tion ten­der would be held in readi­ness by the coun­cil for use on Oc­to­ber 1, but it would have to ad­dress price, traf­fic man­age­ment, noise and dust re­duc­tion.

It was re­ported the coun­cil’s le­gal fees from chas­ing the Oswals had con­trib­uted to an 8 per cent rates rise.

“I’d like to clar­ify it isn’t con­tribut­ing this year, and we have a rates rise of about the CPI, and we are not an­tic­i­pat­ing any­thing from the Oswals that changes our fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion,” coun­cil pres­i­dent Rachel Thomas said.

Staff said a planned $230,000 sur­plus could be used for any un­ex­pected costs, be­fore coun­cil­lors agreed on a 2.35 per cent rate rise in the 2016-17 bud­get, in­clud­ing $925,000 on cap­i­tal spend­ing, at last week’s meet­ing.

The ATO would not com­ment on how the court’s de­ci­sion would af­fect its claim.

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