Scammed victims count their losses and wonder whether they will ever get back their money
A consultant agency has fled away with many clients? money in Abu Dhabi-Photo Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
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Abu Dhabi: The emigration service agency in the capital, which closed down its office unannounced a few days ago, had promised to refund the fee to some of its dissatisfied clients during the past few months over its failure to deliver results on time.
The clients told Gulf News on Wednesday that they had been visiting the office several times to collect the promised refund but each time, the staff convinced them to wait for some more time.
As Gulf News reported on Tuesday, the closure of the management consultancy’s office on Hamdan Street in the capital has raised the suspicion of a scam among scores of its clients who paid thousands of dirhams to be able to find jobs in Western countries and emigrate.
R.H, an Indian, said he was offered the refund in the first week of June. “I had paid Dh18,000 a year ago for a Canadian work permit. When there was no progress for one year, they accepted my request for a refund and I visited their office several times during the past two months until I found it closed on Sunday,” he said.
Bijay Kumar, a Nepalese chef, said he was offered a refund of Dh15,000 on July 23, the amount he had paid to the agency in instalments during the past two years to obtain a Canadian work permit. “However, the assistant manager who promised the refund told me to come again on July 30. When I visited the agency that day, I was shocked to see the office closed,” he said.
He said two of his fellow countrymen had also paid the same amount for the same service. “The company had mentioned in a document that they would refund the whole amount if the service was not offered, after deducting just Dh1,000,” Kumar said.
Suman, a Bangladeshi taxi driver, said he was fortunate that he had made an advance payment of Dh3,700 only on a total fee of Dh25,000 quoted by the company for a light vehicle driver’s job in Canada. “I got a job contract with a prominent cruise company. But when there was no progress, I became suspicious and did not pay further,” he said.
Many other clients who spoke to Gulf News were wary of revealing their cases and identities. “I have many relatives here in the UAE. If I am identified, I have to face many questions from everyone,” said an Indian client.
He and many others registered a complaint with the Financial Prosecution of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department on Sunday. A comment from the department was not available until press time.
The mobile phones of the emigration services company’s Indian managing director and other staff members remained switched off on Wednesday also.
Joseph Mayanja, 38, a cleaner from Uganda, who paid Dh10,600 in several instalments since 2014, said he wanted to unite with his wife and child who were living in two other parts of the world. His wife is working in Oman as a housemaid and his little son is living with his parents in Uganda. “If I could have earned $2,700 per month in Canada [as was promised by the company], I would have had enough savings to start my own business in Uganda. Then I could have lived happily with my wife and child,” said Mayanja, who earns Dh1,300 per month in Abu Dhabi. “That dream is shattered. But can I at least get back my money?” he wondered.