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Gang of housemaids arrested for thefts

DUBAI — March 21: The Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Dubai Police has nabbed a group of housemaids who had all committed thefts in the houses they were serving in, and had fled with large sums of money, jewellery, and gold objects.

On February 3 this year, Dubai Police received a complaint that one of the villas in Al Garhoud area had been burgled. However, it was revealed during the investigations that Jerna Sopozakasa, the Filipina maid working in the house, was behind the crime. She had taken advantage of the absence of her employer. She knew of the place where the employer used to keep the keys of the locker at. She took away Dh4,000, three gold bracelets, and her passport from the locker, and disappeared.

A similar offence was reported with Bur Dubai police station on February 26 this year. An Arab housewife, N.S.H, living in one of the Jumeirah villas, had filed the report, claiming two boxes with valuables had disappeared from her house. One of the boxes contained Dh60,000, six gold bracelets with diamonds, two diamond earrings, and some documents. The other box contained Dh3,000, two diamond necklaces, and some documents.

The housewife informed the police that she had hired two Ethiopian housemaids, who were not on her sponsorship, to assist her in housekeeping. She said the two maids had disappeared after the incident.

The police started the investigations and soon identified the two maids, Najat Omar Adam and Nijist Tavira Jadly.

Meanwhile, on the same day, a UAE national housewife filed a report with the Al Qusais police station, claiming her maid, Indonesian national Maya Sri Soussafti, had fled with valuables from her villa in Al Muhisna area.

The report said the maid had opened her room by using the key lying in her wardrobe, and decamped with large amount of gold objects and jewellery, Dh50,000, and her passport.

Another crime was reported with Alervah police station. The plaintiff, Sh. K, an engineer staying in an apartment in Al Karama area, claimed his house had been burgled on February 28, 2007.

It later came to light that he had hired a Bangladeshi maid, Shenaz, some five months ago, for cleaning the house as well as for taking care of his children.

He said as he and his wife returned from office on the mentioned day, they discovered that one of the drawers was broken and the gold objects and jewellery kept there were all missing. Moreover, the maid was nowhere to be seen.

He pointed out that the maid was not under his sponsorship, and did not know anything about her, except for her name and nationality.

The CID found that the four crimes were reported in around the same period. They entrusted the cases to a special task force, which soon succeeded in arresting Jerna Sopozakasa, the accused in the first case, and her sister Gerli Desir Sopza, who had helped her in concealing part of the stolen goods.

Meanwhile, the two Ethiopian maids were also arrested and the police recovered all the stolen goods from their possession.

In connection with the third case, the police managed to arrest one Ahmed Subhi Samhan, a Syrian national, besides the Indonesian maid Maya Sri Soussafti.

It was later revealed that Ahmed Subhi was the one who had plotted the theft. He had rented a room in a residential building in Al Wahida area, and hid there after the crime was committed. Police have recovered all the stolen goods from him, except the cash, some of which was already spent by the culprit.

Meanwhile, the Bangladeshi maid was nabbed too, from an apartment in Sharjah, where she was staying under a different name. Her real name, it was later revealed, is Sawa Bena Banu Mohamed.


Office-goers hit most

DUBAI — March 21: Traffic came to an almost complete halt for several hours on Shaikh Zayed Road yesterday, delaying hundreds of morning office-goers following the massive blaze in a building under construction on Shaikh Zayed Road.

It led to a major traffic chaos in the vicinity and its impact could be felt as far away as Al Ittihad Road (Sharjah-Dubai road), as well as the Emirates and Al Khail roads.

Long tail-backs could be witnessed on many busy Dubai roads and many commuters were stranded for hours.

“I started early to reach my office in Media City. But I was stranded on the road for two hours,” grumbled Muhammed Iqbal who works in an advertisement company.

Abdul Rahman, another commuter criticised the attitude of some motorists  saying,“ there were too many who just slowed down to watch the fiery ‘spectacle’, delaying everyone else. “As the news spread that Shaikh Zayed Road was clogged, everyone diverted to other roads. I was driving through Emirates Road and was stranded there for about an hour,” said Mohan Kumar.

A police source admitted that the brief closure of the service road leading to the accident site was also closed as a precautionary measure. Meanwhile, traffic police tried their best to ease the traffic snarl, urging commuters to move on quickly instead of stopping to stare at the blaze being brought under control.


Man found dead committed suicide

SHARJAH — March 21: Investigations have revealed that the Indian national, whose decomposed body was found in the back seat of a van parked on King Faisal Road on Thursday last, had committed suicide.

According to police sources, forensic report proved that the man, identified as Julo Serial, 44, had committed suicide by consuming chemical material.

The police said the deceased had left a suicide note addressed to his family back home in India. The note, written in Hindi language, said he was ending his life as he had a dispute with one of his close relatives who had refused to pay him his dues.

A passer-by had reportedly alerted the police on Thursday last, complaining of an unbearable stench from the vehicle. The police immediately rushed to place, and found the decomposed body of the man. His body was removed from the van and sent to the morgue.

According to the forensic report, the body of the man had been in the van for at least 48 hours, creating foul smell, which alerted the passer-by.

The police have refused to reveal the identity of the owner of the van in which the body was found. The van carries a Sharjah number plate.


10 ladies garment shops shut down

SHARJAH — March 21: The Sharjah Economic Development Department (SED) has shut down 10 ladies garment outlets and fined 40 other outlets in various shopping centres and malls across the emirate for failing to hire saleswomen. All these outlets had hired salesmen.

The move comes as part of a campaign launched by SED to promote discipline and modesty among the emirate’s residents, as they are important elements of Islamic culture.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Ali Salim Al Mahmmoud, Director General of SED, revealed the department had received a large number of complaints about men selling ladies garments in these outlets, which was an illegal act.

The SED intensified its campaign, visiting over 120 outlets, and telling owners to hire women.

“The SED will also continue with its campaign to ask shops selling other goods as well to hire only ladies in their women’s wear sections,” said an official.

Shama Al Shamsi, a housewife, appreciated the SED move, saying ladies do not feel comfortable while selling women’s garments in the presence of men.

Rughia Abid, a government employee, said she never purchased ladies garments from outlets having salemen.


Dubai - Drugs gang in court

Dubai - March 21- Four men have gone on trial in Dubai for allegedly possessing 42.8kg of hashish with intent to supply. Two men from Qatar aged 29 and 26 have denied the charges against them. Another two men, both from Iran, face the same charges and charges of possessing opium.

The Court of First Instance was told that the Qatari men came to Dubai last November and arranged to meet the Iranians at Dubai Creek to collect the drugs. Police, acting on a tip-off, attempted to intercept the men as the transaction was being carried out. The Qatari men sped away in a car with the drugs in their vehicle, colliding with a police car as they made their escape.

The drugs were found discarded on the road near to Maktoum Bridge and the men were arrested in Abu Dhabi later that evening. The trial has been adjourned until a later date.


Rashid Colony residents to get alternative housing

DUBAI — March 21: The residents of Buildings 1,2 and 3 of Shaikh Rashid Colony at Al Ghusais, much as they had wished following their eviction notices after the three buildings were marked for demolition, would now be provided with alternative accommodation — albeit on higher rents.

The long six-month tussle between the residents and the Dubai Development Board (DDB) ended yesterday after the committee, comprising Dubai Municipality, Rent Committee, Municipal Council and DDB officials, announced all residents would be provided new alternative accommodation.

Residents’ queries

However, many tenants still raised many queries after yesterday’s conciliatory announcement.

The last meeting in February had seen the committee deciding that the demolition of the three buildings was eminent. However, the Committee had assured they would try and provide alternative accommodation.

New blocks

New blocks of buildings, where the alternative accomodation is being provided, would be constructed at Mahsina near (near Lulu Village and Dubai Transport Office) by the Dubai Real Estate in three phases. In the first phase, 88 flats, both one and two-bedroom would be built for residents of Building 1. The construction work would be completed by August this year. The second phase would see flats being built for the residents of Building 2. The officials said that the construction for phase two was expected to be over by the end of this year.  Similarly, they added, early next year the third construction phase would start for the residents of Building 3. All these buildings would be leased out to the Dubai Development Board and residents would be asked to vacate their present premises after the completion of each phase.

However, the rent of these new flats would be just about double than what they are paying now. Residents say they have agreed to this solution, simply because they have no choice but to move out of Shaikh Rashid Colony.

The annual rent of a one-bedroom hall, for instance, in the new block of buildings to be constructed would be between Dh24,000 to Dh26,000, depending upon the actual size of the flat.

Anyone wishing to have a two-bedroom flat would have to pay Dh35,000 annually. At present, these residents have been paying paying Dh 12,000 for a one-bedroom and Dh18,000 to 20,000 for two-bedroom flat annually.

The Shaikh Rashid Colony controversy dates back to October last year when the DDB asked the residents of these three buildings to move out.

The Board had said that that the three buildings were in a dilapidated condition and had to be demolished. A deadline of October 31, 2006, was set.

But this decision sparked a series of protests as residents refused to vacate their flats and demanded a grace period of almost a year to do so.

They agitated tenants also stopped paying their rents from November onwards and the Board stopped carrying out any cleaning or maintenance works in all the three buildings.

Meanwhile, Saeed Mohammed Al Ghuindi, the Chairman of the Rent Committee and the Head of the Committee, said tenants must now come to the DDB office and register their names for the new alternative accomodation within the next two weeks.

He added that the Committee had found that many residents in all the three buildings have flouted the law by sub-letting their flats.

The new set of 88 flats, he said, would be given only to genuine tenants and not those staying illegally in the Shaikh Rashid Colony.

The Committee has also asked the tenants to first update their tenancy contracts and clear all their dues — only then, would they be registered for the alternative accomodation.

The DDB has also directed its staff to restore the cleaning and maintenance works in all the three buildings under demolition notice.

“We now have at least some viable alternative and we are looking forward to shifting soon,” said one of residents.



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