Japanese arrested for ‘swindling’ quake victims

Published On: June 18, 2016 06:35 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 17: Metropolitan Police Crime Division (MPCD) on Thursday arrested fifty-five years old Japanese citizen along with a Nepali man on the charge of defrauding quake victims in Gorkha, the epicenter of last year’s devastating earthquake.
Police have accused Hiroshi Morikawa from Japan and Bajra Gurung, 50, from Lazimpat-2, Kathmandu, of cheating quake victims by assuring them lucrative jobs in Japan.
Morikawa, who failed to show his passport, identified himself as the CEO of Bouddha based D-Emmanuel Consultancy, while Gurung posed as the director of the company.
The consultancy, which is operating under Straw Millionaire Project, has offices in different quake-hit zones in Nepal. The company, registered under the name of Deepak Gurung, has denied any role in promising jobs to people but confirmed that the arrested duo was holding the topmost posts in the consultancy.     
Based on the complaints registered at the MPCD by 12 victims led by Janak Raj Dhakal of Gorkha, police had arrested the duo from New Road. “The victims have claimed that they have been swindled of Rs 1.13 million, but we have yet to verify the claims,” said MPCD spokesman Sahakul Thapa.
According to Thapa, Morikawa had assured the people of providing training on building earthquake, tornado and hurricane-resilient homes in Nepal and send them to Japan for lucrative opportunities there. The D.Emmanuel Consultancy had also advertised a notice for 21-month training on construction related jobs.
The police have also begun probing the consultancy’s activities in Singati of Dolakha as thousands of rupees were collected from people in the name of providing to construct earthquake-quake resistant houses.
A staff of the consultancy said that they were deployed in the district since the last few months but that the work had begun since last month only. So far, the consultancy has only built three houses.
According to the victims, the Japanese citizen had assured them of sending them to a construction company owned by one of his longtime close friends based in Japan. The accused had also visited the sites along with Japanese experts and other related people before starting construction.
Only after the two accused went out of contacts and stopped visiting the site of late did the victims felt the need to  register complaint against the duo at the police station.

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