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Secret Life of Hussain Ali Habib Sajwani
Hussain Ali Habib Sajwani : the man behind Damac
September 22, 2008 7:31 by kippreport
While building Sajwani’s profile, the Kipp Report invited comments from readers. A majority of those who responded claimed to be angry and disappointed employees of the company.
One wrote, “I have been a Damac employee for four years now. … This company is mismanaged and needs to be restructured. There is a surplus of manpower, with no proper job allocations.”
Another said, “I was promised a senior position [with Damac], but when I joined work, I found myself sitting in a stupid corridor, doing a very junior job in a very unhealthy work environment full of problems.”
Sajwani responds: “It takes time for an organization to be perfect and seek 100 percent satisfaction. I can assure you that the HR practices at Damac are evolving on a daily basis and we certainly aim to offer the best to our employees. Job allocations and responsibilities are two of the basic steps in running a business, and I do not think we would have reached where we are today if we were not implementing simple things like this.”
Another respondent commented that the company has seen high turnover of senior staff, with three vice-presidents resigning without completing a year. Though asked, Sajwani did not respond to this allegation.
Meanwhile, in accordance with Sajwani’s free-wheeling style, the company continues to dodge authorities’ efforts to regulate its activity. In Dubai, for instance, the government has been cracking down on fly-by-night freelance agents by requiring that all companies and individuals selling property be registered with the emirate’s Real Estate Regulation Authority (RERA).
Yet when a reporter for a local investigative magazine contacted a Damac property consultant posing as an investor’s cousin, he was offered an agent’s cut worth 3 percent to 5 percent – AED 150,000 ($41,000) to AED 375,000 ($102,000) – depending on the millions roped in. The consultant also emailed a single page “individual agent application form” to complete formalities.
When asked about the legality of such an arrangement, the agent replied: “We will register you at Damac Sharjah to avoid RERA regulation.”
“I have done well in achieving what I have,” Sajwani tells Kipp. “I always had the opportunity – the opportunity for good education, the opportunity to exposure – to take initiatives and do things I believe in. I made mistakes, learned from them and carried on.”
Sajwani remains a public figure that is both respected and despised. One might consider, though, that there is no such thing as bad publicity. There is only publicity.