Dear Dr. Spilchuk…
Educator in Abu Dhabi Faces Charges
I have now been told I have been sentenced ‘in absentia’ to 6 months imprisonment. How can this be when I was not told of any court hearing, or my solicitor, and was not allowed to submit any kind of defense? My ex-boss, Faisal, today instructed my landlord to throw all my belongings and furniture from my apartment onto the streets of Abu Dhabi.
Dear Dr. Spilchuk,
When completed his contract at an International School in Abu Dhabi I saw a job advertisement for Mena Business Services. I interviewed and the company and was offered a position recruiting and training teachers for their organization
A few months into the job, and without warning, my boss suddenly brought in a replacement and demoted me to the position of consultant. I later became extremely stressed, fell ill and missed a few days work. During this period my boss sent a letter to my home and fired me with no warning or clear justification. I opened a labor case against Mena Business Services and eventually won a cash decision. Upon leaving the country on vacation, however, I was tried in Absentia for theft of a company lap top and cell phone and, should I reenter the UAE, I face immediate imprisonment. He have yet to collect my settlement but managed the release of my things after a long and expensive court battle. Just as my possessions were set to leave the country, Mena filed another case against me and my belongings have been detained.
Marty Keith is a fictitious name. The teacher involved has asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.
To: Minister of Defense, The Minister, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
P.O. Box 46616, Abu Dhabi, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
VERY URGENT — Can someone help urgently, please?
I have now been told I have been sentenced ‘in absentia’ to 6 month’s imprisonment. How can this be when I, or my solicitor, was not told of any court hearing and was not allowed to submit any kind of defense? I have an existing Labour Case which the items I have been accused of stealing refer to. Why was this case held in isolation without relevant information? I have copied this to the British Embassy, Abu Dhabi and London who are looking into this matter for me.
The British Embassy writes Marty:
RE: OUT OF THE COUNTRY & KHALIDIYA POLICE HAVE MY HOUSE KEY?
Sent: 06 December 2007 08:32:21
We went to the court today to check on the records relating to your case.
The court confirmed that on the 19th November you were sentenced in absentia to six months imprisonment for theft. The complainant was Mina Business Services, Est. and the person who filed the complaint on their behalf was Mr. Wael Ahmed Zoulfokar Mustapha. The court informed us that because the sentence was passed in absentia should you ever reenter the UAE the sentence would be dismissed and the case heard again, therefore allowing you to make a defense. However, I should make you aware that you might be arrested on arrival in the UAE and possibly kept in prison until the hearing. The court has also informed us that the case can only be re-tried if you are physically in the country i.e a lawyer could not represent you in order to appeal.
I really am sorry that this has happened to you and that your lawyer appears to be reluctant to help you any further. Unfortunately there is very little else that we can do. We are unable to give out legal advice or make representations to the courts on your behalf. If you wish to pursue this any further I can only suggest that you contact a different lawyer to see if they would be prepared to act on your behalf. I believe that Rabih in the past has sent you a list of lawyers.
I hope that you manage to reach a successful conclusion very soon.
British Vice Consul
Marty Agrees to Drop His Labor Case Against Mena Businesses in exchange for His Personal Belongings from His Apartment. The Company Refuses!
Passport Number – xxxxx
I Marty Keith, agree to drop my Labor Case Appeal against MENA Business Services and accept a lesser amount of AED 20,000 ( 5,445.14 USD) after satisfactory cancellation of the Criminal Case raised against me (details below).
Police Case number – xxxx/xxxx
Prosecutor number – xxxx/xxxx
After the Criminal Charges have been dropped, I agree to vacate the apartment at xxxxx xxxxx and remove my personal effects when I have evidence that my name has been removed from the UAE Authorities Computer System. I will also return the Mobile Telephone and Lap Top when this has been satisfactorily concluded. I need confirmation that I can return to Abu Dhabi (and the UAE) without fear of being taken into custody at the airport.
Marty Contacts Dr. Spilchuk: The Conversation Continues
I was recruited by Mena Business Services via an ad in www.jobsindubai.com and employed as Training Centre Manager to initially open their Abu Dhabi Training Centre. Within a matter of weeks, I was also responsible for opening and recruiting teaching staff for 6 other new training centres in the Western Region of the UAE and Al Ain. The full company name is MENA Business Services (MBS). They are already expanding their training operations into Bahrain, Kuwait, Doha, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Oman. They advertise the fact they have offices in China and Philippines – they don’t have anything set up there so far.
All staff were required to have a degree and a minimum of 2 years teaching/training experience in their subject area. About 95% of my staff were fully qualified teachers and had previously taught in schools and universities worldwide. I recruited staff from America, South Africa, UK, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Sudan and Morocco.
Salaries varied according to nationalities, not experience and I regularly discussed this with my ex-boss and repeatedly asked for a graded salary scale and definitely not per nationality. For example, my Pakistani IT Instructor earned AED 5,000 per month and was far more qualified than the Scottish IT Team Leader who earned AED 15,000 per month. Other IT Instructors earned in the region of AED 8,000-10,000 per month. This method was applied throughout all subject areas. Shocking, I have to say and it appalled me greatly, it was so against my principles. I can send you a Powerpoint slide show my ex-boss put together showing nationalities and how the salaries differ. Let me know if this is of any use to you and I will email it to you.
The main area in all of their UAE Training Centres form part of the Abu Dhabi Emiritisation program and involve teaching students aged 16 upwards in the subject areas below:
Business/Secretarial Studies (Edexcel Accreditation) , Customer Services (Edexcel Accreditation), Medical Secretarial & Medical Transcription, Soft skills i.e. leadership, Travel & Tourism There were plans to move into other subject areas in the future.
Here’s a link to one of their recent ads………..
The company advertise on:
www.jobsindubai.com (lots of jobs presently advertised), www.bayt.com, www.esljobsworld.com
www.teachabroad.com, www.aljazeerajobs.com, www.gulfnews.com, www.khaleejtimes.com
www.sosrecruitment.net (sister company of MBS), various other recruitment agencies in the UAE
Here is how this all got started:
Thursday 31 May 2007 – Mr. Fasial was again present in the Training Centre and a Team Leader’s meeting had been arranged with a business partner who failed to turn up at the appointed time. Prior to the meeting, Mr. Faisal asked me into the Meeting Room to meet the new ‘Assistant Training Centre Manager’. I had absolutely no idea this lady was present at the Training Centre. I had no idea she had been recruited. I questioned this on the way to the Meeting Room and he said that ‘yes, she had accepted an offer’. This lady was present at the meeting which started 2 hours later and she continued to have another meeting with the business partner and Mr. Faisal to which I was not invited
I knew then that something was amiss as I was the Training Centre Manager but had been excluded from what was obviously an important meeting and had not been advised of this lady’s arrival or even her job offer as my Assistant.
In addition, the HR/Payroll Administrator informed me that Mr Faisal had removed my name from the bottom of job offer letters which had always been signed by me. My Student Support Administrator also told me that Mr Faisal was asking her to do things which are usually instructed by me. It was obvious from this and other incidents that Mr Faisal was excluding me and blatantly ignoring me. Soon after this I missed a few days of work due to stress related illness and was fired by letter.
I hope this gives you some background about them. If you need to know anything else, please just ask. I opened this case with great trepidation as Mr. Faisal Wahaibi has been boasting of his influential friends and business partners at the Ministry of Labour and that he is going to make this difficult for me.
Just Prior to Being Fired, Marty Completes His Three-Month Probation with Praise from His Boss.
From: Faisal Wahaibi
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2007 2:22 AM
………………. Congratulations on the completion of the 3 months probation period. It feels like I have known both of you for years.
Thanks to both you and xxxx for all the hard work and it is indeed an honor to have both of you in MBS.
Dr. Spilchuk Replies to Marty
Based on your letters, here is my take on what has occurred:
At some point and for some reason, your manager took offense to you/your communication/your behaviour/your general being. I do not know why this occurred. Clearly, he decided to replace you and simply did not tell you he was going to do so. When you figured out what was happening, he took the offensive and attacked you.
I can well imagine that this situation where you were left fully in the dark and without any control of your own destiny would have thrown you into a state of panic that would require medical assistance. From my perspective, you did the only thing you could do and that was to seek medical assistance so that you could get well in order to deal with the situation.
This same Manager must have figured out very quickly that putting you in such a precarious position that affected your health, one where your doctor was prepared to support you, was not going to make him look very good. A good defense is often a strong offence. The man took the opportunity, while you were absent from work, to destroy your credibility and your standing within the company. He also, apparently, cut you off from any collegial support system you had by threatening your colleagues. Marty, his tactics are well documented in “Bully in Sight” by Tim Field, a British author who has tracked and researched this type of behaviour over a long period of time. Go to his web site at http://www.bullyonline.org/index.htm and read what he has to say.
You will find that you are not alone. This may help you to understand that you could do nothing different from what you did to come up with a different result. No matter how you tackled this situation, from whatever angle, this fellow was obviously determined to undermine and destroy you/your credibility. Tim Field explains that this often happens to very competent people who are not prepared to back down when confronted by harassment from administration.
To further minimize the possibility that you would have an illegal dismissal case, this same fellow has brought forth charges against you of theft. I can well imagine that returning a laptop or hand phone would have been at the bottom of your list of priorities as you dealt with the initial demotion and then illegal dismissal. In fact, turning these items over would have required you to come face to face with the individual/s responsible for damaging your health and the act would have signaled that you accepted the illegal dismissal from the company. Unfortunately, this man is a very unscrupulous individual who, while you were ill, caught you in his spider web and locked you into apparent illegal actions that he presented to the legal system in the Emirates. He obviously has some ‘wasta’. DO NOT RETURN TO THE EMIRATES TO FIGHT THIS BATTLE. LET A LAWYER THERE DO THIS FOR YOU.
Feel the love,
Thank you so much for responding to my email and many thanks for your detailed response. I really appreciate that you took the time to do this for me.
My Labour Case was heard yesterday in the Abu Dhabi Courts and I am expecting news tomorrow as today was a national holiday in the UAE.
I will get back to you sometime soon.
Sincere thanks and kind regards.
My apartment in Abu Dhabi allegedly ‘flooded’ in my absence. My friend Marsha had only just checked it two days previously. My landlord then called the police who kicked the door in and changed the locks. My friends have all been to Khalidiya Police Station in an attempt to get my new key but the police are refusing to hand the key over to anyone but me. As you saw from my report outlining events, I emailed Abu Dhabi police approximately 15 times but got nowhere. I have asked my labour case solicitor Jamal, who has my full power of attorney to collect the key, but for some reason and without explanation, he won’t go to the police and collect it on my behalf. The Khalidiya Police were working within the law when they informed me/friend that only I could collect the key to my apartment but with my Power of Attorney I would think my solicitor could receive it.
Earlier this week I emailed the property manager of my building, and asked for his advice. The flat is due for renewal on 12 February and since my labour case is still pending, I have no idea what will happen. I know that under UAE Labour Law, my ex-employer must still provide me with accommodation whilst proceedings are underway but I’m not entirely sure of this given the new criminal case and prison sentence.
I wasn’t just passing through Abu Dhabi -I had been there for 4 years and it was my home. I have been living out of 2 suitcases for the past 2 months and my whole life is in my apartment in Abu Dhabi – all my furniture, clothes, CD’s, books, personal papers, items etc. I am greatly concerned about what will happen to those if the flat reverts back to my ex-employer.
Speak with you soon,
Thanks and yes it is all very strange – it has been since the outset. My solicitor (Jamal) has had my full Power of Attorney since June of 2007 and for some reason, refuses to collect my key from the Police Station even though I have been reliably informed he can. I have asked him numerous times as have the British Embassy so I’m stuck. As you can see in the email from my landlord, he has tried to call my lawyer many times but like me, he gets nowhere. My friend in AD can pack up my belongings if only she can gain access.
I emailed the Brit Embassy and pleaded for their help and asked them to call Jamal and my property manager. That was over a week ago and no reply as yet. I also emailed the other solicitor, Walid, but no reply from him and I sent a reminder last week. Everyone seems to have backed off and it’s really getting me down, I have no idea what’s going on or where to turn to next. I’ve been merrily emailing anyone and everyone in the UAE to assist, including all the Ministries and Sheikhs but I’m not even getting an acknowledgement – I must have sent well over 150 emails by now. The letter my GP sent to the Gulf News hasn’t been printed.
Thanks again for your support.
My friend went to see my landlord about 30 minutes ago and my ex-boss Faisal today instructed my landlord to throw all my belongings and furniture from my apartment onto the streets of Abu Dhabi.
I am very worried now about my apartment and things inside. There are not only memories of my gran who died in March of this year but lots of stuff from my childhood.
I don’t know how much more of this I can take to be honest. This is very hard to deal with.
Good Grief! Can your friend be there or your lawyer to collect your belongings when they are removed from the apartment? This is horrific, Marty! What is the name and address of the Landlord and your ex-boss Faisal? I will email direct to him and have Ben do the same to inform him that we are following this situation closely and that we will publicize on the ISR web site any further situations the company creates to harm you emotionally. This may help. May we do this? Please send us the email addresses and let us contact this fellow direct on your behalf.
Feel the love,
Thank you, I think now this is the way to go. I am still worried that my labour case is under appeal and I got an interview invite today at an International School but I need to do something to make this man aware that he can’t possibly get away with this. Shocking. I am beside myself with grief. I have loads of people ready to move in and pack up my stuff, but for some legal reason, they can’t touch it or get access to the flat – only the police can when they come to change the locks back and return the apartment to my landlord. Apparently as my ex-boss was the official tenant, they will follow his instructions regarding the contents. All a bit confusing to say the least. My solicitor has turned his phone off and no-one can get a hold of him.
Please go ahead and contact both my ex-boss and property manager – I have shown their details in the attached word document. My property manager is lovely and so supportive of me but he has to work within the confines of the law. Can you kindly copy me in on the emails you send?
As always, thanks a lot for your support Barbara – it means so much.
Correct me if I am wrong in the following details of your story: You charged your employer with unlawful dismissal. He was found guilty. He appealed. You won that appeal and were given a settlement. Sometime during your charge of unlawful dismissal, he countered charged you with theft of a laptop and cell phone. You were found guilty in absentia of theft.
Here is the problem as I see it. If your employer was guilty of unlawful dismissal, then how can you be guilty of theft as you would still be an employee under the law? When did you offer to return the laptop and cell phone? While the unlawful dismissal charges were still ongoing in the courts? Did you offer to return same after your employer was found guilty of unlawful dismissal and before the settlement? I can certainly write a letter to your previous employer, opening his eyes to the fact that we will tell your story in great detail on our web site to ensure that all members and visitors to the web site know about him and his company. Perhaps a little pressure from the right source can help to move this situation along more quickly.
There a few other details to keep in mind here. My ex-boss was able to (counter) charge me (5 months after dismissal) with the theft of a laptop and cell phone, i.e. he did it despite the fact I had a labour case pending, and didn’t notify me or my solicitor. The Judge presiding when my case was heard had no knowledge of the pending labour case etc and this was heard in a Criminal Court in my absence. In addition, my solicitor had the laptop/phone but refused to issue me or my friend with a receipt and subsequently fell out with my friend and refused to act for me.
Dr. Spilchuk Writes to Marty’s Boss
Faisal Al Wahaibi Assistant CEO/General ManagerMENA Business Services
Dear Mr. Wahaibi,
I am the online teacher advisor for the International Schools Review, a support web site for International teachers around the world. We have been following Mr. Marty Keith’s story since December 2007. In fact, ISR is preparing to do a full expose of his story and of your/ your company’s involvement in his story.
It appears that you have manipulated what was initially an Unlawful Dismissal case into a petty criminal case in order to ‘punish’ further a man you recruited, treated very shabbily, and then unlawfully fired. There is no other way any reader of this case could interpret your/your company’s actions. There are Courts…and then there is the “Court of Public Opinion”, a place where international teachers turn to when this type of injustice is perpetrated upon them or their fellow colleagues. The International Schools Review will go live with Mr. Keith’s case so that his colleagues, worldwide, can enter the “Court of Public Opinion” and make their own judgments about what happened with this case in the United Arab Emirates at MENA Business Services (MBS). Mr. Keith’s situation is one we believe provides a serious insight into issues of fairness and justice that other teachers considering employment with your educational organization need to take into account prior to accepting a contract.
Our editor/legal team is monitoring this situation so that we can advise our reading audience of International Teachers around the world about this situation. See http://www.internationalschoolsreview.com/ to verify who I am and the interest our organization has in this case. Should you wish to contact me to clarify the situation from your prospective prior to our public release, please do.
Dr. Barbara Spilchuk, Online Teacher Advisor, International Schools Review
Hi there! An update for you……… My landlord today asked my ex-boss for AED 90,000 to renew my lease for a further year as court proceedings aren’t yet finalized and I am therefore still legally entitled to the accommodation. My lawyer faxed my landlord a copy of the court proceedings to show that Faisal was lying about me having to vacate the apartment.
My lawyer has advised that he is going to try and negotiate with my ex-boss to drop all charges against me, allow me to enter the country freely and clear my name. For that, I will obviously return laptop and phone asap, clear flat out within a matter of days and accept labour award as it stands. If I appeal the labour case, it will incur additional lawyer fees for him also and in addition to the apartment fees, he hopefully will agree to this.
It might work but my ex-boss is stubborn!!!
Will keep you posted.
Not sure if you’ve received a reply or not from my ex-boss?
Just bringing you up-to-date with the latest news today.
Unfortunately, my ex-boss has declined my lawyer’s offer and is appealing against the Labour Decision saying I am not entitled to anything.
He is refusing to drop the criminal charges and is determined to fight this.
My lawyer is now appealing on my behalf.
I have no idea what is happening regarding my apartment but I believe my ex-boss is refusing to pay the extra rent also.
Unfortunately matters are still not resolved and I got a shocker email today from the Brit Embassy in Abu Dhabi. I am absolutely shattered. I am right back at the beginning again after today’s events. I emailed all my documentation to Fair Trials International approx 5 minutes ago……….. http://www.fairtrials.net/index.php and I attach the documentation I sent to them for you to read. If you don’t mind, can you please read the letter which outlines where I’m at today. It saves me writing events out again – really sorry but I can’t face it. You will see my boss is very much in the driving seat and I can’t afford to upset him (any more!!) at the moment anyhow.
Speak with you soon and thanks again,
Sorry for the delay but it’s been a tough week!!
Fair Trials are contacting my solicitor this week as is another solicitor (Walid) in Abu Dhabi on behalf of the Embassy. In fact, he called me earlier today and said if Jamal, my solicitor doesn’t do anything concrete soon, then to issue him with a new POA and he will lodge an objection to the courts for this criminal charge. He doesn’t understand why Jamal hasn’t done this yet!!! As a matter of ethics between lawyers, he is allowing Jamal to attempt to conclude this matter asap before he steps in and takes over.
Bearing this in mind, can you hold off sending the letter until I give the go-ahead – should be next week sometime if I don’t hear anything positive from these other sources soon.
I meet with Walid yesterday. He said he is trying through discussions with the court/prosecutors office to find a way to solve the issue of verdict which would allow you to travel freely to Abu Dhabi. Again he said if he starts the proceedings of appeal for the criminal case, he will only have 10 days and you would need to be in the country to lodge the appeal. As it is Ramadan nothing will happen. He has tried contacting Jamal but has not yet spoken to him. He confirmed to me that Jamal’s power of attorney allows him to accept your cheque from the labour courts, if & when necessary. He has not revoked Jamal’s POA. He is definitely on your case but it will take time for things to move on. He said he had been trying to call you and that he would do so again one evening. He has someone in the Khalidiya police who is looking into the issue of the key, if someone either me or his office can go along with a POA and be allowed access without any problem. He said he would rather his office get access and then call me once it is done, said it is best I am not involved personally as the police could get difficult.
He would like to know if there were any minutes of your meetings with Jamal and Labour Dept, stating you were informed to hold on to the laptop and phone????
He will contact me whenever there is any updates or requirements.
Take care, Walid is on your side 100%.
More than a year has passed since the start of this episode in Marty’s life and no progress has been made.
I hope you are well. I am sorry once again to email you but I need to know answers to the following since you have been dealing with it and also why you have not replied to my emails or indeed made any contact with me?
Please, as I have said on many occasions – if you cannot help or work on my behalf, then I am begging you to let me know so I can move on and try to find someone who can. As you are aware, I have been let down so many times by Jamal and I put my trust into you, hoping that communication would be improved and that my situation would make progress. I am truly desperate now Walid and need to get things moving as soon as possible. You spoke with me in August and then had a meeting with Sam in September and you discussed the following matters.
1. You were in contact with someone at Khalidiya Police about getting the key and subsequent entry to my flat – has any progress been made with this?
2. Sending me a POA by DHL Couriers to xxxx you to act for me – I don’t appear to have received anything?
3. Revoking Jamal’s POA – has this been done? Did you make any contact with Jamal?
4. Speaking to my landlord – did you speak with him? I am still very concerned about my belongings and the situation regarding rent on the apartment.
5. You advised Sam not to use the Power of Attorney which I had legalized and attested by the British Embassy in London at considerable cost and time. You advised Sam not to enter my flat and you would have someone instead from your office enter my flat. Can you please tell me why Sam cannot enter? Is Sam still in a legal position (having this attested POA) to enter my flat?
6. You were in discussion with the court/prosecutor’s office to find a way to solve the issue of verdict which would allow me to travel freely to Abu Dhabi without arrest at the airport – did you do this and if so, what is the latest?
7. Can I also ask about my Labour Award from the courts – what is the procedure for me to collect this money and is there a time limit?
I hope to hear from you soon. I am keen to close this awful episode in my life.
Thank you Marty
There is absolutely no doubt that you are choosing to ignore me and my emails. I cannot express how upset and truly disappointed I am that you have chosen to conduct yourself in this way. It really isn’t nice. Can you kindly reply to this one and confirm this is the case so that I can move on please and not sit around waiting for news from you. It would also be helpful if you could give me an update so that I have this information to pass on to a new solicitor.
Thank you, Marty
Hi Lorraine (British Vice Consul),
Hope you’re well. I was wondering if you had spoken to Walid at all? In your email below you were hopefully meeting with him on 19 January?
He’s still not replied to any of my emails or made contact and I have no idea where my case stands or indeed my apartment and contents?
Perhaps you can let me know sometime if you have spoken with him or can someone please call him and clarify?
Can this person from the British Counsel not give you any support at all? Do you want me to contact these people direct on your behalf to ask for an update of the situation?———-
Yes, please, can you write to them – Lorraine and Rabih – email addresses as before at the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi? Maybe that will get a response. Lorraine is always very supportive and understanding in her emails but doesn’t actually do anything for me.
I spoke with him and he said that he had set up a meeting with someone who could help and he would contact you. I have just called him again and have been told that he has left Abu Dhabi for good. I really don’t know any more than this. Did you friend not get power of attorney in order to collect your possessions and sort out your flat? What happened with that? If you give me your number and a time to call (taking into account the time difference), I am happy to ring you and talk this through.
Lorraine (British Vice Consul)
Thanks very much Lorraine for your email.
I had no idea Walid had left Abu Dhabi. No-one has contacted me at all and I have had no communication from Walid since last September 2008. This all makes sense now but I wish he had informed me instead of waiting around and wasting time.
I will now have to find another solicitor and preferably one with good English. The thought of having to explain this all over again to a 3rd is overwhelming.
Re POA (power of attorney) – yes I got one for xxxx and it was attested by British Embassy in London. xxx then got it attested in Abu Dhabi and translated but Walid advised against her using it and said he would get someone from his office to get my key from Khalidiya Police Station, enter my flat and remove my furniture and belongings etc. This was done in July of last year but don’t know how long it will be valid for. Do you have any idea?
Yes, it would be good to talk things through with you and thanks for the offer. Can you let me know what time/day suits you and I shall make myself available.
Latest events as of 5/3/2009
Not good news. Text from my friend in AD. According to solicitor (unsure who he acting for?), no access and stuff being sold soon – advert already in newspaper (??). My landlord allegedly on my side he told the embassy, ‘poor Marty, i want to help he said. He raised a case against MENA for rent owed (80,000 AED) and it’s at this stage now which makes us think the new solicitor al shamsi is my ex-bosses and they contested the rent dispute and in turn court issued order for goods to be sold despite every item being mine, right down to the last teaspoon. Knowledge withheld no doubt or faisal said goods were comany’s. Not sure exactly and neither is embassy. She has spoken with 3 different solicitors at the al shamsi firm.
Embassy have been excellent. They are trying to get copy court order to see exactly what it says. They have been trying to get in touch with jamal (old solictor) to stop auction. Embassy been trying to call my ex-boss all day no reply. Calling shamsi solicitor no reply and of course the elusive jamal.
Next step is to attempt to raise objection to court order. Both my friend and jamal have a full POA (power of attorney) so they have legal rights over my goods or try to get landlord to stop things since he raised initial action. it’s all a bit fuzzy .
Will resume matters Sunday. I will go public and contact media with this next week if auction not stopped.
Sincere apologies for this email but I am truly at a loss and again traumatized by this latest episode in Abu Dhabi. I am sending this to those people I know with links to, or living in the UAE in the hope that someone may be able to help or advise. If you can’t, then again apologies for sending you the email.
Link regarding my story- http://www.internationalschoolsreview.com/nonmembers/dr.spilchuk-april09.htm
The British Embassy have recently informed me that all my goods and personal belongings in my apartment are being auctioned off by my landlord.
My landlord Mr Mattar Al Muhairy raised a court action against my ex-employer MENA Business Services for 80,000 AED to pay back rent owed by them. My landlord has been truly supportive of me throughout this ordeal.
We do not understand this but suddenly, my landlord has this court order giving him the right to sell ALL my goods to pay MENA’s debt. Where is the justice in that? Again, I am unable to defend myself, I cannot get into the country, let alone the apartment to get my personal effects. Why did the court grant this order? Did MENA say the goods belonged to them? We don’t know, can’t make any sense of it. We are trying to get a copy of the court order.
Every piece of item in the apartment belongs to me, not MENA Business Services. I have receipts for everything. My whole life is in that apartment.
Apparently there will be an advert in the local newspaper sometime soon if it hasn’t already appeared.
I have some friends who are paying a personal visit to my building to try and speak with Mr Al Muhairy to unravel this a bit more. It does not make any sense. We have been unable to contact the landlord’s solicitor Mr Nasser Al Shamsi 050 6421661. If anyone knows him or knows of any connection, can you please let me know. I am sure an ex-student from my school may be able to help but I don’t have contact information for him.
If anyone can help in any way, offer any advice, know of any good inexpensive solicitors, or can pay a visit to my apartment and speak with my landlord, then please can you let me or the British Embassy know. I am out of the country, helpless and the British Embassy are doing all they can to help. I cannot let my life’s worth of personal items be taken away from me in this inhumane and unfair manner. British Embassy telephone number – 02 6101100 and pass any information onto Melhem or Lorraine please.
Note: you may also contact ISR and will pass on the information contact us
Many many thanks
UPDATE 5/19 2009
New solicitor represented me today in court in an attempt to stop the auction. Things changed very quickly as you will see below.
Firstly the auction was stopped and I was allowed entry to remove all my goods – solicitor confirmed this to British Embassy who then telephoned me and my friend in Abu Dhabi. We began arranging for packers to enter the apartment. I was told my landlord supported me in court and raised no objection to me removing my items. He just wants his flat back poor man.
An hour later, my solicitor, who was still with the Judge in Court, phoned the British Embassy and told them the auction had only been postponed, new court hearing set for 1 June 2009 and I could not remove any items as MENA were disputing ownership of my goods.
Have been told MENA are trying absolutely everything to make life difficult for me and this is a last-ditch attempt by them so they don’t have to pay rent or costs.
It’s crazy – why would they say this??? They are blatantly lying. The Chairman of MENA Business Services, Ali Al Hashmi denied any involvement last night to the press, told them it was a dispute between me and my landlord and nothing to do with MENA. I have so much evidence that EVERYTHING belongs to me so why would they say this?
The British Embassy and The National Newspaper have been truly wonderful and supportive. They are in touch with me and my solicitor daily.
I can use all the support I can get in my efforts to take possession of and ship my belongings out of the UAE. Please contact the following people at Mena Business Services and express your feeling on this incident.
Abu Dhabi Training Centre: firstname.lastname@example.org
Head Office – Dubai email@example.com
UPDATE June 26, 2009
If you’ve been following this, you’ll remember Marty was tried in absentia in the UAE and found guilty.Marty’s lawyers in the UAE were finally successful in bringing MENA Business Services to trial but when a representative from MENA failed to appear at the trial the judge postponed the hearing and later dismissed the case. Does this mean expats have less rights than locals in the UAE? It looks that way to us. Below is recap of recent events.
• Court hearing 8 June – postponed due to MENA and their lawyer failing to show
• Court hearing 15 June – landlord and his lawyer failed to show – case adjourned
..Note: Marty was sentenced in absentia. Apparently this procedure only works one-way.
• Court hearing 22 June – all parties present, final judgment will be on 30 June
UPDATE June 30, 2009 Final Court Decision on Marty’s Personal Possessions
Court decided in my favour – I have the right to collect ALL my belongings!!!!!!
Been a long journey, one more case to go – the criminal one, but this may help.
Off to arrange packing and shipping!!!
UPDATE July 9, 2009 Brief Overview of the Court Cases
1). – Labour case raised by me, won 3 times, appealed twice by MBS and ultimately being awarded in January 2008 a cash award of 25,200 AED – cheque at Labour Courts in Abu Dhabi, still to be collected. New lawyer will collect after 2nd case concluded
2). – Rent for Apartment case raised by my landlord against MBS for rent due and costs. MBS appealed and won the right to sell my goods to pay this rent/costs. Auction set by court to sell my goods but I instructed new solicitor to appeal and defend me. I won this case last week and the right to collect all my belongings. However, bad news today. Friend met court representaive, lawyer and landlord at my apartment earlier this morning. She has until 8.00am tomorrow morning (Friday) – the weekend in Abu Dhabi to remove all my belongings otherwise they will be thrown onto the streets. No negotiation. It has taken the court over a week to finalise paperwork then they give 24 hours. How on earth can we get packers in and moved in one day??
3). – Criminal case raised by MBS – still ongoing. Been sentenced ‘in absentia’ to 6 months imprisonment for theft of company phone and laptop – 5 months after dismissal. Can’t defend this case unless in country but will be arrested upon arrival and held in prison until a court date set. New lawyer can take on this case but will cost me in the region of 50,000 AED ($13,614.73)which I can’t afford. Can’t get police clearance until my name is cleared which obviously affects my status as a teacher and obtaining employment.
UPDATE August 11 & 12, 2009 Mena Appeals and Marty Possessions are Frozen in UAE
Hope this finds you well. I am in a state of shock right now. This will just not end. A brief update for you……………
Got an email today from friend saying she had received a call from my lawyer Imen advising that MENA have appealed against me winning the right to collect my personal effects from the apartment.
My belongings are now stuck in storage in abu dhabi at a hefty costs per month and of course, more lawyer’s fees to counteract their appeal
In addition, Imen has made many appointments with Jamal, my previous solicitor but he has failed to show and now ignores their calls.
When will it all be over?? Marty
August 12, 2009
There was a court representative in my apartment when Aramex were there taking an inventory for shipping. Either them or my watchman has passed on information to MENA we suspect.
The Embassy can’t get involved in this. My solicitor is dealing with the appeal and is defending me. They have described it like a ‘fight, a kind of war’. I am tired of it but have to keep defending myself and spending ridiculous amounts of money.
I had moved on from this and really thought this chapter had closed. This latest news has upset me and set me back enormously. It is hard to explain but when I get news like this, the whole past two years comes flooding back and is extremely stressful.
Regarding the criminal case, my name is not yet cleared. Two things to choose from –
1. spend 30,000 AED for my lawyer to try and deal with MENA amicably to drop the case and pay MENA 5,000 AED (for what I’m not sure?)
2. 50,000 AED to go to court but I have to be present in the country and surrender my passport – this could take a few weeks or few months.
I can’t afford either of these and will have to wait for a while longer to save some money. In the meantime, my lawyer has the mobile phone and laptop and is going to try some negotiations with MENA but we’re no holding out much hope.
Will keep you posted with any further news. Still worries me about The National not going to print and losing contact with me. The article would have helped the court case I reckon and assisted with the criminal one and clearing my name
Speak to you soon