Gang squats in rental

Owner in tears at ris­ing bills and long wait for court date

The New Zealand Herald - - Front Page -

An Auck­land woman says gang mem­bers from a prom­i­nent crime fam­ily have il­le­gally moved into her rental prop­erty and re­fused to leave.

And de­spite po­lice in­ter­ven­tion, the al­leged squat­ters have oc­cu­pied the Otahuhu house for eight months.

Rav­ina Prasad said the prop­erty man­ager for her Al­bert St house dis­cov­ered some­one had ap­par­ently bro­ken in when it was va­cant in May.

The in­trud­ers had shifted in their be­long­ings and changed the locks.

Po­lice told Prasad the per­son liv­ing there was Abra­ham Whare­waka jnr, a mem­ber of the Black Power gang who was jailed in 2005 on or­gan­ised crime charges. He is the son of late Black Power pres­i­dent and no­to­ri­ous drug dealer Abra­ham “Abe” Whare­waka snr.

“To be hon­est, I cry ev­ery night,” Prasad said. “Know­ing that some­one has walked off the street, gone in there and claimed that it is his.”

A po­lice spokesman said Whare­waka jnr was ar­rested for wil­ful tres­pass at the house in May. But the mat­ter was ad­journed in July and is not sched­uled to be heard again un­til March.

Ex­as­per­ated by the de­lays in get­ting their prop­erty back, Prasad and her hus­band Nee­lesh Chan­dra have taken a civil case.

“Our civil case needs to prove that we are the own­ers of the prop­erty,” Prasad said. “Once we do that, we can do the tres­pass.”

While Prasad waits for her day in court, her fam­ily is run­ning out of money. The dis­pute has al­ready cost $17,500 in lost rental in­come and $8000 in le­gal bills.

“It’s such a night­mare right now,” Prasad said. “I’ve ex­hausted all my sav­ings. I just don’t know where I’m go­ing to pay the next mort­gage from.”

Her af­fi­davit for the civil case shows Whare­waka jnr, 52, claims the prop­erty is owned by his fa­ther. Whare­waka snr, who died in 2017,

once ran a $5 mil­lion drug em­pire in a clus­ter of houses on Al­bert St known as “The Marae”.

Prasad and Chan­dra’s lawyers say they can find no ev­i­dence to back his claim of own­er­ship.

Prop­erty records show the land was owned by Te Mana De­vel­op­ments, a com­pany which ap­pears to be linked to Whare­waka snr in the 1980s. But the com­pany went into liq­ui­da­tion in 1986 and the prop­erty was sold by Hous­ing New Zealand, pos­si­bly in a mort­gagee sale.

Prasad said she was shocked she had been forced to take court ac­tion to prove own­er­ship of her prop­erty. She and Chan­dra bought the prop­erty in 2015 and their names are on the ti­tle.

De­spite be­ing tres­passed by po­lice, Whare­waka jnr has re­turned to live at the house. Prasad said she had been told by po­lice to stay away.

Prasad is not pay­ing the power or wa­ter bills and sus­pects Whare­waka jnr is pay­ing to keep the lights on.

Water­care can­not cut off wa­ter to a prop­erty for safety rea­sons.

There was no one at the ad­dress to com­ment when the Her­ald vis­ited yes­ter­day. There were Black Power flags in the win­dows and cars with the gang’s in­signia in the drive­way.

One neigh­bour, who did not want to be named, said they had com­plained to po­lice twice about the peo­ple in Prasad’s house. They had wit­nessed what they be­lieved to be drug use and drug deal­ing.

Photo / Leon Men­zies

Black Power flags in the win­dow of an Ota¯ ¯ huhu prop­erty al­legedly be­ing oc­cu­pied il­le­gally.

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