Sharjah: Indian expat Masood Mohammad beamed excitedly as he stepped out of Sharjah Court clutching a court verdict against his ex-employers.
The court had ordered the logistics firm to pay him Dh106,000 towards 10 years of gratuity and seven months of outstanding salary.
Finally, justice has prevailed, Masood thought.
He had not sent any money home since the abrupt closure of his company in late 2017. As a result, all three of his daughters had dropped out of school. Masood himself had, meanwhile, racked up thousands of dirhams in credit card debts.
He hoped the court verdict would help him repay the bank and get his life back on track. But the hopes turned out to be short-lived.
One year later, no change in fate
Nearly one year after the October 2018 judgement, the 36-year old from Hyderabad is yet to get even a single dirham as the company owner fled to India without paying Masood's end-of-service benefits and salary dues.
“I have got a favourable verdict but I am unable to enforce it as the company has shut down and its owner has disappeared,” rues Masood who is now being hounded by debt collectors.
In April this year, he was arrested and spent 15 days in a Sharjah jail for defaulting on a credit card payment.
“I am not a wilful defaulter. I am just caught in a vicious debt cycle through no fault of my own. What I owe my landlord and banks is less than what my ex-employer owes me. I want to clear my liabilities but I can do that only if I am paid my end-of-service benefits as per the court ruling,” says Masood, now living off friends.
“I have no money and no job and my debts are ballooning with each passing day. I haven’t seen my family in three years. But I can’t go back as I have a travel ban. My family is struggling. I desperately need help,” he says, fighting back tears.