Monkey business on the Street
Credit issues rear their ugly head once again as a ‘bankrupt’ reseller, Jubail Technology, re-opens amid claims that the owner’s debt has been transferred to a business partner who has fled the country.
Dubai’s Computer Street is reeling from credit woes and alleged fraud yet again as a reseller who did a runner only a few weeks ago has now reappeared. Street traders have been shocked by the reappearance of Jubail Technology, which had apparently shut up shop at the end of August and left a string of unpaid debts.
Resellers on the Street are furious that Jubail, which they allege ran off along with outfit Two Stars Computers, has now re-opened and is doing business. Suppliers to Jubail say they have been conned by the owners of both Jubail and Two Stars and believe they are the victims of a credit scam.
“We had an active relationship with Jubail for several months and gave them a credit line,” said Binoi Verghese, sales manager at distributor Ashley. “Jubail’s account is in the name of Two Stars and Jubail’s management gave us Two Star cheques. One morning both shops were closed and the managing director of Jubail and Two Stars, B Mahesh was gone. We were shocked to see Jubail opening a few days later and we called the police. The manager there, Benyam Mahdere told us he didn’t know the previous owner and we have filed cases against them for non-payment of goods.”
Street insiders suggest that the two figures involved, Benyam Mahdere and B Mahesh, had a close working relationship, shared the same sponsor and worked and sold stock out of the same office for several months before Two Stars and Jubail folded. Both companies are written on B Mahesh’s business card, and those who supplied Jubail product addressed the invoice to both Two Stars and Jubail.
“We sold 18,000 Dirhams of kit to Jubail a few days before it supposedly went under,” explained Jameel Pasha, manager at Khaleefa Computer. “They didn’t pay and then closed up. We thought they had hopped on a plane and left the UAE. But now they are open again and will not pay their dues. We even have invoices signed for by the office boy at Jubail but they will not pay. They got in a lot of stock and handed out cheques in Two Stars’ name and now that Two Stars does not exist they do not have to pay for anything. These guys are now selling Two Star stock and not paying for this either. The combined stock and credit together for the two companies could be worth US$1.5m!”
The owner of Jubail, Binyam Mahdere, vehemently denied allegations that he was part of a credit racket to con the channel and denied having a relationship with Two Stars. “Nobody has asked me to pay one Dirham. It is simply the media putting about the wrong impression. If there are any debts owed by Jubail then let me pay them. I have no links with Two Stars and this is an entirely separate company. I have been here for years and in truth I was staggered by the amount of credit that was given to them and even I lost money to Mahesh at Two Star.”
Whatever the truth behind the allegations, one thing that seems certain is there were links between Two Star and Jubail, as Jubail’s office manager admitted. “Mahesh did sell stock from here,” said Eskender Mahdere. “But he took off and we don’t know where he is.”
Police cases are pending but with several other cases of traders running off and defaulting on debts, distributors and Street dealers are not expecting to see any cash come their way.