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Dh30m Dubai holiday home rental scam: I was fired when I raised fraud alarm, says ex-Evernest staff

Legal advisor was handed a pink slip barely a fortnight after she was promoted.



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Supplied
by

Mazhar Farooqui

Published: Thu 20 Jan 2022, 2:12 PM

Last updated: Fri 21 Jan 2022, 11:07 AM

A former Evernest staff member said she was fired from her job when she grew suspicious about the company’s activities and alerted other employees.

Heba Sami, an Egyptian expatriate, who holds a law degree, joined the holiday home firm as a legal advisor on September 26, 2021.

Though she was promoted in about six weeks of taking up the new job on November 4, she was fired less than a fortnight later.

“They hired me to address legal issues arising out of leasing unfurnished homes to tenants,” said Sami.

A former business development manager at the company corroborated Sami's claim.

“A staff member from Dubai's Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) visited our office in September after a tenant had complained that we’re leasing out unfurnished apartments in contravention of laws. That’s when Sami was hired,” the manager told .

Sami said she sensed something was amiss when she found out that her employment contract was not in the name of Evernest but that of a real estate company called Treehouse Real Estate.

“Soon, I discovered that the real estate firm was a sham. It was set up so that its trade license could be used to list properties on various portals and attract unsuspecting tenants,” said Sami who worked at Evernest’s office that was located on the 17th floor of Sidra Tower at Al Sufouh.

“More alarm bells rang when a senior manager of the company abruptly left the UAE on November 10 on the pretext that he was suffering from cancer and needed treatment in his native Pakistan,” she added.

Sami said she was promptly served a termination letter after she raised her concerns with her colleagues.

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“It was November 18. I was called by the operation manager to his room and handed the pink slip. No explanation was given, but I knew better,” she said.

“It feels like being part of an show — the popular American crime drama series — on when I recall the fast-paced chain of events,” she added.


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