Fraud cases in the name of foreign employment on the rise in Jhapa district

PARWAT PORTEL

Manoj Dulal, a foreign job aspirant from Godak in Ilam district, reached the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on December 25 last year to fly to Qatar. He had paid Anup Subba, his agent, Rs 200,000, as the latter had promised him a job at a Qatari company. Dulal was told to reach the airport well before departure time. Subba had told him, “Your ticket for Qatar is ready. You need to reach the airport before 10 pm.” And he did. However, when it was Dulal’s turn at the immigration counter, he was in for a shock. The immigration officer at the TIA informed him that his ticket was cancelled. When Dulal tried to reach Subba, he had already fled. Subba is still at large.

In a similar incident, Sabhalal Tajpuriya of Gaurigunj in Jhapa district had paid Rs 278,000 to Khakan Sarkar of Bhadrapur-7 for a job in the Maldives. The agent had handed him his plane ticket and visa on March 3. However, a day prior to his flight, Sarkar called him and said, “We haven’t been able to fix a ‘setting’ at the airport. Today’s flight has been cancelled. I will arrange for you to fly out in the next couple of days.” When Tajpuriya did not hear from Sarkar again, he went to the Department of Foreign Employment to lodge a complaint against Sarkar, but the department refused to register his complaint. Tajpuriya then went to the police to seek their help in retrieving his money from Sarkar. He still has not been able to make the recovery.
 
Likewise, Yam Bahadur Magar of Bhadrapur-6 had deposited Rs 300,000 with Kamal Kattel of Damak-1 two years ago after the latter had promised to send him to Poland for employment. Kattel absconded with the money. Magar did not immediately file a complaint against Kattel, as Kattel’s family had promised to pay Magar back. However, two years since the incident, Magar is still waiting for them to pay him the money. He recently went to the Department of Foreign Employment to file a case against Kattel, but the officials at the department refused to register his complaint.
 
Dulal, Tajpuriya and Magar’s cases are just three cases in point that highlight the rise in swindling incidents in the name of foreign employment in Jhapa. According to the Safer Migration Project (SaMi), millions of rupees have been swindled from 41 foreign job aspirants in the district since the beginning of the current fiscal year in mid-July, 2018. Most of the victims were duped on the pretext of employment in Gulf countries, the Maldives and Poland.
 
Although swindling cases are rife in the district, the authorities concerned have failed to take action against the guilty and provide justice to the victims. Durga Khanal at SaMi said that such cases are on the rise because of the concerned authorities’ indifference towards the victims’ plight.
 
“The victims go to the police asking for justice but they are turned away, and they return dejected,” he said. Tajpuriya recalls repeatedly asking the police to arrest Sarkar on a fraud charge but to no avail. He even took matters into his own hands and took Sarkar to the police for necessary action. “We took him under control and handed him over to the police, but the police freed him after a while,” said Tajupiruya.
 
Subas Khadka, deputy superintendent of police, said that Sarkar was freed as per the existing legal provisions on conditions of appearing at the police station when required.
 
The prevailing laws in the country have delegated authority to the District Administration Office to register and tackle cases of fraud on the pretext of foreign employment.
 
Janak Raj Dahal, chief district officer of Jhapa, admitted that there has been a significant rise in fraud cases in the name of foreign employment. “We are aware of the rise in fraud cases. As soon as we are briefed about such cases, we refer the case to the District Police Office for necessary action,” he said.
 
Published: 11 April 2019/ The Kathmandu Post

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