Fraud accused Imam Fasieg Adams still has a lengthy legal battle ahead of him, despite reimbursing the monies of several pilgrims.
Amid the height of scandals pertaining to the religious journey’s of Hajj and Umrah, there have been several calls to regulate the industry.
At least seven would-be pilgrims from Cape Town have received the monies they gave Imam Fasieg Adams in 2019, for an umrah trip that never materialized.
His reimbursement of funds followed investigations into his dealings over the past few years, whereby he would take monies for umrah trips but would announce, shortly before departure, that something had happened that prevents them from travelling.
Jamiatul Ulama Western Cape is investigating Adams based on first-hand accounts.
Relieved pilgrim Najwa Levy is one of 10 people who were supposed to go on umrah between Mid December 2019 and January 2020. The group gave Adams at least R24 000 each.
“I can’t say shukr enough to Allah swt that our monies was paid in (to) me, Nariema Abrahams, Zarana (her parents and her son). By tomorrow (Tuesday) or Wednesday for the latest, it will be Fatima Hendricks, Galiema and Yagyah Abrahams,” said Levy.
Jamiatul Ulama Western Cape spokesperson Ihsaan Abrahams says that although monies have been reimbursed, the legal process will proceed as intended until all monies are returned.
“Due to the pressure we applied, Alghamdulilah, certain payments has been made. Imam Fasieg Adams has visited the two year old clients that he’s taken money from, the Patels. He paid them two years ago a R10 000, Allah shukr. Yesterday (Sunday) he paid them another R10 000. He has made the commitment and the promise -once again- of making a R10 000 payments every month until those particular amounts are paid up In Shaa Allah,” said Abrahams.
Levy was among the would-be pilgrims that had not wanted to speak to the media before allowing Adams time to pay back the monies owed. The grateful woman, along with those who were refunded, will not be testifying against Adams.
“Now, we need to clear Imam Fasieg’s name also because our monies was paid in. We also kept our amaana (undertaking/promise) towards him; it’s only fair,” said Levy.
However, the attorney handling the case, TNK Attorney’s Fazloodien Abrahams, said he isn’t surprised by the refund given the extent of investigations into Adams.
“As far as we are concerned, these type of methods need to come to a point where it can no longer progress. (The refunds) seems to be an attempt to squash any investigation or legal action against him. What you find is that the pressure that has been building on Mr Fasieg Adams is a direct results of the individuals. We have come to a point where we have gathered enough evidence that indicates that there’s a very strong possibility of some criminal element involved. In terms of a misrepresentation which is not true and unlawful, which has certainly caused prejudice to individual(s),” said Abrahams.
According to the attorney, not everyone he has allegedly defrauded has been reimbursed.
“Now, all of a sudden, he has paid a particular amount to the Patels, who were a group of pilgrims who he has caused damage to or defrauded their money. He has selectively paid individuals and it appears he has paid those individuals who has been silent in all this and has kind of penalized those who have come forward,” said Abrahams.
“I think its important that the public knows that he is refunding money purely because of the pressure that has been put on him and he feels that the walls are closing in on him.”
Abrahams emphasized that the return of the money remains suspicious.
“The pertinent question is not that he has paid the money back that is owed to them, but the question should be whose funding this operation, who is giving the money back? more importantly, where is the money that he took from the people… what has he done with it?” he questioned.
“The money he paid to the mutamireen was paid to him with the intention of him utilizing those funds for their trip. He hasn’t utilized those funds for hotel accommodation, or to pay for the VISA applications and certainly hasn’t utilized the funds to book the ticket,” elaborated Abrahams.
Abrahams however made mention of a deposit Adams made at a company called One Stop, but said that it was paid ‘at the 11th hour after the whole debacle was exposed to show that his intention was to make the bookings.’
Moulana Abrahams further encouraged other fraudulent Hajj and Umrah operators ‘who are under the impression that they got away’ to work towards paying their debts.
“We urge each and everyone to still come forward if there are any hajj and umrah tour agencies that have conned them in the past and who still owes them money,” appealed Abrahams.
The moulana thanked the TNK Legal team, led by lawyer Abrahams, ‘for doing a sterling job representing the oppressed masses in the Cape.’
The surprise turn of events comes ahead of a planned Indaba by the South African Travel Hajj and Umrah Operators Association (SATHOA) in April. According to a statement, the Indaba hopes to address the following concerns:
- The general lack of knowledge of exactly how the system works
- Which companies or individuals are authorized to sell Umrah packages
- The issues pertaining to Government regulation or self-regulation here in South Africa.
An invitation has been extended to government, Islamic organisations, umrah operators (formal and informal), the legal fraternity and the public.
The proposed date is Saturday 18 April 2020, at the Country Manor in Boom Road, Philippi, Cape Town.
Adams declined the opportunity to respond.