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Umrah case at court

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Aggrieved clients of Al Faisal Travel and Tours attended a court hearing on Tuesday, to resolve a dispute with embattled owner Sheik Faizel Karstens. The umrah operator has been ordered with a provisional sequestration which interdicts him from using his business account.

Thabiet Albertus, representing a family of eighteen who has been affected, said they are demanding financial reimbursement for the trip they never had. Albertus added that the legal route was to highlight the importance of ethical and professional conduct in the haj and umrah travel industry, which they believe is lacking. The complainants booked with Al Faisal Travel and Tours for an umrah over the busy December period but at the last minute, were told their trip had been cancelled.

In an interview on VOC’s Drivetime on Tuesday, Albertus said the court proceedings follows after numerous attempts have been made to contact Karstons but to no avail. As a result, those affected have now requested the court to freeze Karsten’s assets to institute the recovery process of the monies lost by the mu’tamireen.

“It is unfortunate that the situation has to get to this point but if he [Karstens] had contacted us about his predicament, we would have perhaps came to a different solution,” Albertus explained.

The court will consider all evidence brought forward and the testimonies by those affected. By February, Karstens will have had enough time to prepare a statement to the judge as to why they should not make the provisional sequestration final.

According to Albertus, they have a strong chance of getting their money back as Karstens owns many cars and a bond free estate.

“We not only want our money back but we also want to put our foot down and say to the travel operators that we [mu’tamireen] will not settle for unprofessional and unethical dealings which results in our loss,” Albertus said.

While on Tuesday, only 65 individuals made it to the court procession, there are hundreds more affected by the Al Faisal Tours. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)

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