By Ricky Laxa
Akaram Nawaz Sheikh, an Indian travel agent representing the company of Global Eternity Travel and Tourism, located in Block 10 of Salmiya, is currently hiding after having scammed travelers by issuing fake tickets. The travel agency has also closed down.
Sheikh, is being accused of scamming a group of Filipino Overseas Workers who purchased return tickets from the travel agency he represents. He is said to have collected thousands of dinars from the victims, and issued bogus tickets and flight bookings which were nonexistent. As reported, other nationalities have also been showing up in front of the closed travel agency complaining of such a scam.
Speaking with The Times Kuwait, some of the victims narrated that the travel agency had previously offered cheaper rates thus enticing numerous clients to purchase their tickets from the agency. “I showed up at the airport for my flight schedule but I was told by the officer from the check-in counter that my flight had been canceled earlier. I immediately called Sheikh, but his mobile was switched off and I have not been able to reach him after that. I have tried several times calling other numbers connected to the agency, but no one picks up,” commented Sheila.
Narrating a similar experience, Marilou stated that she purchased a return ticket but when she was about to leave from the Philippines, she was also told that her booking had been canceled. She then had to request her friends in Kuwait to raise an amount to pay for her return. “It was a big shock for me, and when I had no choice but to borrow money from friends here to be able to pay for my ticket. Upon my return I called Sheikh several times but he kept putting off his phone and closing it but every now and then he goes on line, yet he refuses to answer calls,” commented Marilou.
Most of the victims have shown up in front of the travel agency in Salmiya only to find out that the place has closed and been abandoned by staff. Global Eternity Travel and Tourism has four other outlets in the country, so when Sheikh’s victims showed up in the main office they were told that the company has nothing to do with the outlet in Salmiya. “It’s nerve wracking to hear such comments from them. But again, how was that possible, Sheikh was using their system, name or brand of the company including receipts. It’s totally impossible that Sheikh operated his travel agency without knowledge that their company’s name is being used especially on social media?” asked Tony, another victim.
Filipinos who fell victims to Sheikh’s scam decided to open a chat line and called on other victims to join them. At the moment, there are about 25 who have reported the same incident. “This number is only us Filipinos, but what about the other nationals who according to the agency’s neighbors have shown up at the venue outraged after finding out about their canceled flights, and that bogus flight manifestos have been issued to them. This is hard earned money and I saved it because after four years I wanted to see my family and now I have to postpone again to save enough and be able to travel back,” complained Tony.
Filipino victims are urged to report to the Assistance to Nationals Unit of the Philippine Embassy and file a complaint, so that legal actions can be taken against Sheikh. Vice Consul Aron Lozada urged the victims to testify on their complaints to the embassy as soon as possible so legal assistance can be rendered to them. “I hope he gets arrested and faces the consequences for what he did,” commented Marilou.