Fined: Upton Park travel firm boss who mis-sold Hajj and Umrah trips
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The director of an Upton Park travel firm offering pilgrimage trips has been fined and disqualified from holding any directorships for two years.
Mohammed Suba Ibn Nozir, of Wyatt Road, Forest Gate, and his firm Holy Makkah Tours Limited, which was trading in Green Street and also had a base in Small Heath, Birmingham, had been investigated by Trading Standards as part of a national project to tackle Hajj and Umrah fraud in 2014.
The 44-year-old and his firm had previously pleaded guilty to seven counts each of misleading customers as it did not hold an ATOL licence, a legal requirement for firms selling package holidays
Yesterday, the company – which also traded as MB Travels and Euro Bangla – was fined £11,000 by Birmingham Crown Court and ordered to pay £5,600 in costs, plus a nominal order of £1 under the proceeds of crime act, to be paid within three months.
Nozir was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £5,600 in costs, plus pay £31,217.15 under the proceeds of crime act, all to be paid within three months, in addition to the disqualification.
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The firm’s manager, Shamshu Miah, 54, of Monica Road, Small Heath, previously pleaded guilty to one offence under the legislation and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 costs.
Cllr Barbara Dring, chair of Birmingham’s licensing and public protection committee, said: “This case highlights the need for people booking any holiday to be aware that internet-based travel firms have to adhere to the same codes of practice as those based on the high street.
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“It is also a great example of how working closely with our local authority partners has helped us bring a successful prosecution.
“Trading Standards is here to protect Hajj pilgrims from being ripped off by unscrupulous travel providers. We know it’s important to take action to protect pilgrims and to ensure there is a level playing field for all businesses.”
Holy Makkah Tours Ltd traded as a business with another travel firm, Islam Freedom Limited, which was based at the same Green Street address.
The firm and its director, Shahin Chowdhury, 45, of London Road, Barking, were found guilty of five offences each during a trial in August last year.
Both Chowdhury and the firm are due to be sentenced on August 17.