I met Noorjehan Abbass many years ago, in my past life as a legal secretary at an attorneys’ firm in Cape Town. I can’t remember exactly how long we worked together, and I lost touch with her afterwards. She phoned me once in the intervening years, and told me that she had had two adorable twin boys, Tasriq and Raziq, and that she was doing well. I can still hear the sound of her voice in my head, as we spoke on the phone that day.
The next time I heard her name mentioned was at the end of February this year, when the media reported that, during the years from May 2004 to September 2007, while working as a paralegal in the deceased estates department at Fairbridge Arderne and Lawton, she had been embezzling money. Tidy sums of it, according to both the Rapport of 21 Feb 2009 (titled Trustgeld verdwyn”) and Noseweek Issue 113 of March 2009 (titled “Fraud at Fairbridges”). Ironically, the company had written a very positive testimonial for her when she left them for Sonnenbergs, another prestigious law firm in Cape Town.
At the time the story broke in the media, Fairbridges wasn’t sure (or weren’t telling) how much exactly had been stolen from their trust accounts. Robin Kirkby who was investigating it, mentioned an amount of R250,000, a third of which had apparently been ‘retrieved’. Noseweek did their own research and found out that it was closer to R7 million.
According to the article in Noseweek, an urgent interdict had been brought against Noorjehan on 12 November 2008, in which the court was asked to freeze all her assets and those of her mother, interdicting them from disposing of or encumbering any of their movable property (e.g. cars) and immovable property (three houses).
Since then, I found no further articles in this matter online.
Until this morning, when the news was far more shocking, and shook me to my core.
According to the papers, Noorjehan had last been seen on Thursday last week, when she left work early because she was feeling sick. She was picked up by a man in a white Golf, whose name is known to the family.
She never came home.
On Monday afternoon, her body was found in the bushes off Strandfontein Road, near Pelican Park and Zeekoevlei by residents chopping wood. At the time of going to press, the police weren’t certain how she had died and had not yet confirmed her identity, but her family had apparently identified her body from photographs.
So many questions that demand an answer: Why and how did she steal all that money? Who killed her and why? Is there a link between these events, or not?
I feel quite sick to my stomach.
I think it would be good to say a prayer for her and her two little boys who are going to have to figure out all the difficulties of life without their mommy now.
Noorjehan: I hope and pray that your soul is at peace.