Goodbye, Noorjehan

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.

The headlines were: “Mom’s body found in bushes” (News 24.com) and “Ma van tweeling se lyk in bosse gekry” (Die Burger).

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.

12 thoughts on “Goodbye, Noorjehan

  1. Good grief Reggie! What a story! Maybe she wasn’t guilty and was just being framed? They might have threatened her boys or mom had she not gone along. You may never know what happened. I will keep her and her boys in my prayers. How very sad.

    • I know,… I wish the truth would come out… but sadly, it’ll probably disappear from the media attention in a day or two, and the police will most likely never find out who did it or why… A sickening thought that her murderer is still out there. What a horrid man.

  2. Hi Reggie,
    When you were working with Noorjehaan was she a legal secretary or a paralegal? It is terrible what has happened and I hope that the shroud of secrecy around her death can be discovered.

  3. Hi Reggie!
    I have only just found out about Noorjehan – and found your blog in the process!
    I am absolutely *shocked to the core* and can’t believe it. It’s just unbelievable. The mind boggles.
    Please write to me…see email above…good to make contact again.
    Hugs,
    Fi

    • I am deeply sorry to hear that. I wasn’t sure what to make of the comment I received on my blog yesterday, as I hadn’t read anything about it in the papers. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family at this tragic time. I pray that they will find the strength they need to get through this together.

  4. Hi there everybody.

    Noorjehaan and myself used to sit together at lunch with a number of girls.

    I used to work with her at Fairbridges and then recently at edward nathan sonnenbergs – at a certain stage she just lost so much weight and no one new what was wrong with her – all she ever said was that she was trying to get to her goal weight – the saddest part was that she was involved in such a big thing and was carrying that burden with her the whole time.

    The day she never came back to work was when we realised that something was clearly wrong.
    Lots of stories went around about her, that she had a number of ID’s, that she wanted to have her son’s sent away before all of this was exposed and when the articles submerged about what she did – i was shocked to the pit of my stomach – i just couldn’t believe that this person i used to sit with everyday actually committed this crime. then of course we all heard of the murder and that was the most tragic news to hear above all that was going wrong at that time for her.

    I would really like to know what happened after her death – its too mysterious and i really hope that the family has clarity on her murder and that her sons are being looked after.

    What a sad way to leave this earth.
    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle

      Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s really nice to hear of a friend of Noorjehan’s. I too wish we knew what exactly happened and why she got herself into such a huge mess.

      I regularly check the internet and the papers for news of what happened, and wish I knew whether the police have ever found the horrible people who did this to her. But there has been *nothing*. I don’t know whether that means that the police hasn’t been able to get to the bottom of it, or whether they have lost interest in it, or whether they *have* in fact caught the guilty parties but are keeping it all very quiet and out of the papers.

      Regardless, I agree with you entirely: what an awful and brutal way to die – or rather, to be murdered. And how unnecessary. Her sons should still have their mother. It also makes me sick to my stomach.

      Blessings to you, Michelle.

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