Tenant duped by 'Emirati owner', agent; loses Dh23,000
The signature of Al Sharqi on the tenancy contract and Emirates ID are different, which proved the bluff.
Rajesh Kumar Gupta thought he had bagged a good deal with a Dh25,000 yearly rent for a studio flat in Al Mushrif. On September 13, he moved to his new flat near Mushrif Mall after making a one-time payment. But just a day later he was floored.
The man from the Indian state of Rajasthan painfully realised that he was duped by his fake 'Emirati owner', who claimed he was Shaikh Mohammed Sorour Mohammed Saif Al Sharqi. The police, after checking the documents told Gupta that the Shaikh Mohammed Al Sharqi is a high net worth individual from Fujairah.
However, the signature of Al Sharqi on the tenancy contract and Emirates ID are different, which proved the bluff.
Gupta has been working for a company in the Capital for the past 11 years. However, like most residents, Gupta too had not heard about Abu Dhabi Municipality's Tawtheeq project that deals with rental regulations.
Now, he hopes his ordeal will be a lesson for others.
Gupta was living with his family in Mussafah for 11 years. He was unsure about the present job market scene and packed off his family to Jaipur. And thus began the hunt for a one bedroom apartment. He checked Dubbizle.com and found a match.
"On September 3, I saw an advertisement for a studio flat with four pictures. On September 6, I contacted the agent, Kasim. He told me the rent was Dh25,000, but I had to pay Dh2,000 less as Dh1,500 was his commission and Dh500 for the maintenance person, Kabir.
The same day I checked the flat. I had heard and read about rental scams and checked with the neighbours, too. The next door neighbour said he got the flat through another agent, but Kasim assured me that he was insane and that I shouldn't believe him."
Convinced, Gupta agreed to make a one-time payment, though hesitantly.
"On September 8, Kasim told me that the 'owner', Al Sharqi. would meet me at Mazyad Mall in Musaffah and that I could pay the money to him," said Gupta. "But he didn't turn up. I grew suspicious but Kasim said I could go and make the payment at the owner's house on Al Ain road. This convinced me and I though that he was genuine."
A meeting was thus fixed for the next day.
"On September 9, the 'owner' came to the parking lot of Carrefour on Airport Road between 5 and 5.15pm. We had a brief chat and he handed over the key to me along with the tenancy contract, power of attorney, passport copy and Department of Municipal Affairs' paper. The tenancy contract also had his phone number. And I paid him the full amount. He gave me a receipt voucher and left. I went to a typing centre to cross-check and the staff said the power of attorney was correct." The 'power of attorney' stated that the undersigned person is Shaikh Mohammed Sorour Mohamed Saif Al Sharqi.
Gupta was also given copies of the passport and Emirates ID of a person named Muath Saif Khamis Saeed Al Kaabi. "I don't know why them to me," Gupta said.
On September 13, Gupta shifted to his flat in Villa No. 77 and got a television connection, too. But the very next day he got the shock of his life.
"At about 11.30pm, a man banged at my door. He told me he was the caretaker of the flat and that I was staying there illegally and had to vacate. I showed him all the papers but he said those were fake. I called the police who took all of us to the police station."
The police told Gupta that the said 'owner' was an influential person.
"They allowed me to leave on the assurance that I could stay there as long as a settlement is made."
On September 15, Gupta filed a new case against the culprits. He called all the phone numbers of the fake owner and agents but couldn't reach them.
Now, as a safety measure, Gupta has stuck a bargain with the actual owner of the villa for a monthly rent of Dh3,500. The actual rent is Dh4,000. "I don't want to create problem for anyone that's why I paid rent to new owner," he said.
The actual owner of the villa is Hussain Ali Faisal Al Yazedi. He has leased the villa to Mohammed Abdul Wahab Real Estate Company LLC.
The villa is co-managed by Mohammed Abdul Wahab Abdul Shukur and Saeed Ali Islam Abdul Halim, both from Bangladesh.
Gupta also contacted Dubbizle.com to get details about the agent. The company told him that they can only release the details upon request by the police or any investigation authority.
Gupta is hopeful that police will take action and check the CCTV footage at Carrefour parking area.
"The man looked like a Shaikh and resembled the photograph in the passport," Gupta added.
However, the villa's caretaker Abu Tahir said it was a clear case of fraud.
"How can you get a studio flat in Al Mushrif for Dh23,000? Why will a Shaikh come to deal with all this and why at a parking lot? It's fraud but who is at fault," he asked.
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