Gang squats in rental
Owner in tears at rising bills and long wait for court date
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.
Black Power flags in the window of an Ota¯ ¯ huhu property allegedly being occupied illegally.