CAIRO: Karim Nashaat, the owner of Al Rabea for Car Trade, was arrested Sunday after he had fled with about LE 16 million from customers for nearly one month, police sources have told The Daily Star Egypt.
Ahmed Hashaad, a high ranking police officer at Al Khalifa police station, said his district’s investigation bureau managed to arrest Nashaat following an intensive, month-long manhunt.
In December 2006, more than 100 complaints were filed with the police accusing Nashaat of stealing clients’ deferment payments and not delivering their cars on time.
“Some other customers have received their cars but didn’t manage to get the remaining documents required for completing license procedures, Hashaad told The Daily Star Egypt.
He added the investigation bureau has transferred the case to the Al Khalifa district prosecutor’s office to oversee detention procedures.
Al Khalifa prosecutor’s office chief Wael Omran told The Daily Star Egypt that Nashaat is now being questioned by investigators.
“Nashaat is now detained for four days for investigation. His case will be overseen by the judge tomorrow and his detention period will be renewed for another 15 days, said Omran.
In December, authorities confiscated Nashaat’s rented store at El Nafoura Square in Moqattam, but couldn’t seize the other branch in Nasr City district, because he sold it before running off with the money.
According to Hassan Solyman, president of the Egyptian General Section of Car Traders at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, the Al Rabea car dealership was not a member of the Egyptian Chamber of Commerce, and did not possess a trading license.
The entire operation was illegal, he explained. “We couldn’t freeze Nashaat’s membership from the chamber as we did with Mohamed Bayoumy, the owner of Al Forsan, another car store, who perpetrated the same scheme two years ago, because Nashaat didn’t have a membership. But we had an urgent meeting and we proposed a list of future suggestions to Rachid Mohamed Rachid, the minister of trade and industry, Solyman told The Daily Star Egypt.
Solyman insisted that future recommendations aim at protecting consumers from any scamming operations. He said they would be implemented once they received official approval from the government.
“The owner of the store should never get money from the public. We suggested that he/she will get an approval from Egyptian Chambers of Commerce to open an account in a bank to receive all deposits of customers. The Egyptian Chambers of Commerce will give instructions to the bank not to give the owner the deposits before a verified document of the cars delivery, said Solyman.
He added, in order to assure the credibility and reliability of car stores, there will be official signs posted at the entrances of each dealership stating the membership of the store in the Egyptian General Section of Car Traders at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, and its license to operate a dealership.
He said the chamber will also register the status of the store in the Office of Real Estate Proclamation and Notarisation.