Why are we kept in the dark?

I would like to express my disappointment over the way victims’ cases are handled at the Bankruptcy Office in light of a recent misconduct of its officials that was uncovered and widely reported in the media.

As a judgement debtor who was being put under a receiving order since 2011 under an agreement made with the official receiver, I agreed for a certain amount to be deducted from my bank account every month, with an additional yearly deduction from my bonus to cover for total debts I owed with my creditors.

By 2015, the total amount collected from me was already sufficient to cover the total amount I owed to creditors.

I contacted staff from the Bankruptcy Office, who at that time told me they had no way of instantly tracking the total amount collected from me as “they are handling a lot of cases from all four districts in Brunei”, citing this quote from the member of staff at the counter.

The staff instructed me to write to the Official Receiver and wait for a reply. Months went, and the deductions continued. I wrote numerous letters to the Official Receiver to stop the deductions but this continued for another two years until I sent an email to the Supreme Court’s general email address, which got me an instant reply and the request to cease the monthly deduction was finally acknowledged.

A year later following the cease of the monthly deductions from my account, I received no news from the Bankruptcy Office on the surplus amount that was paid (over BND20,000).

About a year ago, I was called in for a creditors’ meeting, hoping for a rescinding order to be issued as I have serviced all the debts and my creditors were supposed to be paid, but I was told by another Official Receiver that the money that was collected on my behalf was no longer in the account in light of “an issue” and that I had to wait for further instructions and told me to contact my bank.

I tried calling my bank but they were clueless on the matter and told me to contact the Bankruptcy Office, who later told me to contact the bank again.

This added the confusion.

I was however disappointed with the way the case was handled by court officials, as no assurance or clarity is given on the status.

What happens to our money? Will it be paid back to us? Will our creditors be paid? When can we get our names cleared from the receiving order?

These are the questions that run through my mind all the time that no one can answer until today.

Being left in the dark on the matter really brings anxiety and uncertainty to victims like me.

Making matters worse, having my name still being under a receiving order that was supposed to be rescinded five years ago is so much of a hassle as I could not apply for banking facilities such as getting a home loan and use my own name to enter into contract agreements until today.

I hope the Bankruptcy Office will not remain tight lipped and at least assure us that the matter is being handled accordingly and our monies will be eventually paid to us and a rescinding order will come as quickly as possible.

I hope victims like us will no longer be kept in the dark in the matter, and be given the assurance.

After all, the court is supposed to be an institution that upholds the law of the country and practice fairness and integrity in serving the people.

If this is handled quickly and efficiently and victims like us are informed, I think we would really appreciate it and at least know something is being done to ensure that our rights are protected.

The court could form a committee to oversee the victims and appoint an officer to handle the victims so we are not left in the dark.

5 Tahun Menunngu