name is ......, for short. I am very sorry to write this long letter about my
unfortunate history. I am from a poor family in the north of Madagascar. I am
orphaned of my mother who was hit by a baton; though illiterate, she was very
talented. After her disappearance, my father became more traumatised, and we
poorer than before.
Catholic priest looked after me, baptised me and sent me to school. He sent me
to a Capuchin minor seminary from 2004-7. I graduated in 2007 and spend a year
as a Capuchin postulate. There was a disruption to the Formation Program in 2008
and we were all temporarily sent home. So, the priest transferred me to the
diocesan seminary of Ambanja. I did my philosophy and foundation of theology
studies, receiving a said Diploma in 2012.
then did 2 years of 'regency'; in my first year, my bishop sent me to a
different diocese called Pont-Berge. I worked in the parish of St Stephen of
Tsarahasina, along with the Paris Foreign Missionary Society. I was teacher of
religion and catechetics in a parish school. I was responsible for youth, the
scouts (boys and girls), the choirs, and helping the parish priest in preaching
in the far flung areas.
the second year, my bishop recalled me to my own diocese and gave me a heavy
responsibility , to be Rector of the Minor Seminary of Ambanja, as well as
teaching some subjects at the College of St Therese (2013-14).
the end of the academic year, I decided to quit my studies for priesthood,
because my father continued to remain traumatised and unable to look after my
sister. Besides, I did not want the disappearance of my mother – and her
generation - to be "in vain"
by my becoming a priest and thus not having any children. At the same time, I
deeply wanted to be a priest, having being formed by them for 10 years
(2014-14). But I had no choice, due to the family circumstances.
2014-15, I continued my university studies in the capital of my country, doing
philosophy as well as working. From 2014 til June 2016, I taught in the School
Marie Manjaka Andohalo in Antananarivo. It was in the care of the Sisters of
Cluny. I was professor of religion, of "Life and Love Program" and
also responsible for the choirs, sport and other student associations.
got my Masters on the 26.04.2016. At the moment, I looked for a better paying
job, in order to improve my situation as well as continue my studies towards a
Doctorate in Philosophy. Just at that time, I met a young lady called Annie who
is actually my cousin. Her full name is ........
She told me there was a job offer on the internet site......
She persuaded me to look into it immediately. On
6.6.2016, I spoke with a Mr ....., who arranged an interview in a big
hotel "Colbert". On arrival there, I saw my cousin Annie who presented
me to that person .........., who
was Director General of the biggest Chocolate Factory in Madagascar. Annie told
me she was his secretary. She said that I was her cousin, she had a lot of
confidence in me, and asked the Director to embark me in this new work.
Director asked for all my documents and posed many questions about my CV. He
told me my job would be 'Representative of the Society and Signatory of
Contracts'. He said there would be two modes of work: The Chocolate factory 'Robert de Madagascar' had clients
coming from overseas who would supply primary materials such as cocoa, coffee
etc, but the Society would not pay them immediately, but rather in tranches,
according to the contract that would be made
. There would be other clients, whom we would pay immediately.
. There would be other clients, whom we would pay immediately.In all cases, it would be necessary to keep well the contract of sale, and remind clients that just because of the price of the primary materials kept increasing in Madagascar, the Society would not pay more than what was agreed.
I met the Director again on the 7.6.2016 and he told me that out of the 10 interviewees, I was a the best, and so I signed the contract. The next morning, he told me he needed me to immediately go to Hong Kong to visit the Asian branch of the Chocolatery. I accepted the challenge, knowing I was obliged to do so under the contract.
He brought me to an office where they were 2 other people, and a free place at the table with a computer, which he said would be mine. He then brought me to a barber in his 4X4 Lux, asking me my measurements and my shoe size. He explained that normally I would be wearing the Chocolatery uniform, but it wouldn’t be ready on time; however, I would have to look smart, because he has been chasing this (Asian) contract for one year.
After the barber, he drove me home, and gave me 2 shirts, 2 pants, 2 pairs of shoes, a vest and a suitcase. Everything was new. I presented the Director to my wife; apologised to her for sending me to Hong Kong so soon, owing to the urgency of the contract.
The following day, 9.6.2016, the Director brought me to the airport along with my wife and 2 friends. On arriving, he brought me to a Bureau de Change, and gave me USD 1500, with the accompanying document. He gave me my plane ticket and hotel reservation. I tried to give him back the wallet, but he said, "It is for you. I know that you have one, but this one is original, feel its weight, it is very heavy".
So I put the wallet back in my bag and it was the last time I touched it. I asked him about the document of monetary exchange; he told me that if Immigration asked me the purpose of my journey, I was to say 'Tourism', not 'Work'. He told me that customs would automatically ask me for that (money exchange) document. It was all going to be quite difficult for me as I do not speak English correctly. He told me, "Don’t worry, Rodin, there will be no problem. Our Society has a long existence, and we have a lot of experience".
I arrived in Kenya first on the same day at 6pm. I was lost in the airport, I couldn't find the counter to wait for the connecting flight to Ethiopia. After 2 hours, I found it. I approached the Office of Kenya Airways to confirm my flight. The lady at the desk told me I could not proceed because I did not have a return flight from Hong Kong to Madagascar. I called my secretary. After she spoke with the Director for a long time, they asked me to buy the return ticket with the money I had in my pocket, and that tomorrow they would send USD930 by Western Union to Ethiopia.
On arriving in Ethiopia on 10.6.2016, my secretary sent me many Whatsapp messages saying that I must not tell Immigration that I am not travelling for work, but for tourism. She also told me that a certain person, friend of the Director, would give me the money in the Ethiopia airport. She told me that my patron was 'annoyed' with me, but that he would reimburse the money with which I had bought the return ticket. The Director's "friend" never came. The secretary told me to go ahead without the money, but that they had sent it to the Western Union branch located just before Immigration. She said that if the Customs asked me about the money, I was to say that I had lost it.
All these messages are still in my phone and form my 'proof' of innocence.
11.6.2016, I arrived at HK Int'l Airport, and immediately the customs saw that
there were drugs in the wallet the
Director had given me, and also in the shoes that I was wearing. All night I
called my Director and secretary, but they did not answer.
my lawyer asked for the work contract that I had signed with the Director. I had
already phoned my wife to send me the contract, as well as my Diploma from the
major seminary. I needed all this to show the Madam Justice that I am not a bad
person, I am not a vagabond, but that I am well educated. I hope that all these
documents are in the hands of my lawyer. If my lawyer needs an English
translation, I will try to do that.
Facebook name of my Secretary is ...... You can talk with her if you wish. I ask you not to publish the names on
Internet, because I am afraid for my family, especially my father and my blind
sister. I hope in God that I will
not be imprisoned for eternity. One day, God will set me free. I will do
everything in my power to bring these tricksters to justice. Because I still
have all their messages and the signed work contract.
respectfully, Fr John, I am .....