Dec 05`16 - Esna Travel, Ghulam Wahabi and Rollah Zahir - Conviction
Toronto– In November of 2014, TICO began receiving complaints from consumers who booked 2014 Hajj Tour Packages with 1176630 Ontario Inc. o/a Esna Travel and Tours (Esna Travel), Ghulam Mustafa Wahabi or Rollah Zahir. Consumers made cash and cheque payments, but failed to receive travel services. Esna Travel was registered as a travel agent and travel wholesaler until January 18, 2016, when it voluntarily terminated its registration. Mr. Wahabi and Mr. Zahir have never been registered as travel agents. All three operated in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario.
TICO laid charges against all parties involved. This was a complex prosecution, which resulted in the most comprehensive restitution paid to consumers. All consumers who made a claim to the Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund (the Fund), were reimbursed in full. A total of $290,100 was reimbursed to consumers through a) the Fund, b) Esna Travel and c) Mr. Wahabi. The Fund paid $142,300, of which $50,000 will be recovered through the restitution paid by Mr. Zahir.
The total sentence, imposed on all parties includes:
- Fines, including Victim Fine Surcharge (VFS), totaling $47,500,
- Restitution of $197,800, and
- Probation Order.
Below is a summary of the convictions and sentences imposed:
Pled guilty and was convicted of one (1) count of failing to keep customer funds in the trust account contrary to section 27(6) of Ontario Regulation 26/05 (Regulation) made under the Travel Industry Act, 2002 (the Act)and of one (1) count of carrying on business with Rollah Zahir, who was required to be registered as a travel agent, but was not in fact so registered, contrary to section 20 of the Regulation. Charges against Shakrukh Teherany and Suraiya Teherany, directors and officers of Esna Travel, were withdrawn.
Esna Travel was sentenced as follows:
- Fine in the amount of $7,500 plus VFS, per count, for a total of $18,750 for both counts.
- Pay restitution to consumers who paid for travel services not provided, in the amount of $93,800.
Pled guilty and was convicted of one (1) count of operating as a travel agent without registration, contrary to section 4(1)(a) of the Act.
Mr. Zahir was sentenced as follows:
1. Fine in the amount of $15,000 plus VFS, for a total of $18,750.
2. Probation Order for two (2) years starting November 3, 2016, with the following conditions:
(a) Not to be employed in the travel industry, in any capacity.
(b) Not to sell, solicit for the purpose of selling, counsel for the purpose of selling or contract for the purpose of purchase and sale of travel services, from any travel agent or travel wholesaler in Ontario.
3. Pay restitution to the Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund in the amount of $50,000, pursuant to the Free Standing Restitution Order issued by the Court.
Ghulam Mustafa Wahabi
Pled guilty and was convicted of one (1) count of operating as a travel agent without registration contrary to section 4(1)(a) of the Act.
Mr. Wahabi was sentenced as follows:
1. Fine in the amount of $8,000 plus VFS, for a total of $10,000.
2. Pay Restitution to consumers who paid for travel services not provided, in the amount of $54,000.
For More Information, Media Please Contact:
Mr. Richard Smart, President & C.E.O. or Dorian Werda, Vice President, Operations
Tel: (905) 624-6241 / Toll Free: 1-888-451-TICO