Bakaleke, 8 Others Charged With Defrauding Korean Investors

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Assistant Commissioner of Police Siraje Bakaleke and eight others have been charged with kidnap, abuse of Office and Conspiracy to defraud.

Bakaleke is accused alongside Lawyer Paul Wanyoto Mugoya, Nabeta Samuel Mulowooza, the Managing Director of Eye Power Engineering Company and police officers Robert Munezero, Innocent Nuwagaba, Robert Ray Asiimwe, Junior Amanya, Babu Gastavas and Kenneth Zirintuusa.

The group is implicated in the alleged extortion of 1.4 billion Shillings from two South Korean Nationals Park Seunghoon and Jang Shingu Un who came to Uganda looking for gold amounting to USD 1.5 million, early this year. But the South Koreans were arrested from Acacia Mall in Kampala; where they were due to meet their lawyer Paul Wanyoto.

Reports indicate that on the day of the meeting, the dealers were surrounded by security operatives, put on gunpoint and asked to hand over the money in their possession.  A total of 1.4 billion Shillings was handed over to the police officers before the two South Koreans were arrested and detained at Katwe Police Station. They were later told that they were facing terrorism charges and would be deported.

It later turned out that the deployment had been sanctioned by Siraj Bakaleke after a tipoff from the lawyer who indicated that two of his clients were involved in dubious activities and he had a suspicion that they were financial terrorists.

The police officers reportedly bought two air tickets with Emirates air using some of the extorted money. But they missed the flight, creating confusion among the plotters of the deportation. They hurriedly bought new tickets with Rwanda Air but were netted before the South Koreans boarded the plane.

Although all the suspects are jointly charged, lawyer Paul Wanyoto Mugoya faces additional charges of embezzlement and obtaining money by false pretense. The state alleges that on or about the 8th day of February 2018, at Diamond Trust Bank in Kampala, Mugoya being a Director in McKinley Resource Company Limited stole, USD 415,000, the property of the said company, to which he had access by virtue of his office.

The state further states that between February 4 and 11, Mugoya with intent to defraud, obtained USD 30,000 from one Jang Shingu Un by falsely pretending that it was legal fees to handle a criminal case that had led to his arrest.

Eight of the accused persons were charged in absentia before Grade one Magistrate Moses Nabende of the Anti-Corruption Court.

However, Nabeta Samuel Mulowooza, the Managing Director of Eye Power Engineering Company who was present denied the charges and was later granted bail on grounds that he pays 4 million Shillings cash and also tenders his passport to the court.  His three sureties were each bonded 50 million non-cash.

State Prosecutor Harriet Ongom asked the Court to extend summons against the rest of the accused persons because there was no proof that they received summons. Accordingly, the court extended summons to October 5, 2018.

-URN
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