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American National Loses Shs21bn To Police Deserter In Gold Scam

The Criminal Investigations Directorate Wednesday charged two men accused of conning USD six million (21.9 billion Shillings), from an American national, Anastasios Belesis, in a gold scam.

The suspects remanded include former Police Constable Martin Bwayo alias Capt Bob while his accomplice has been identified as Enock Katwesigye alias Col Frank. The duo, according to Belesis, masqueraded as senior UPDF officers who transact gold on behalf of key government officials.

Belesis, in his statement at CID headquarters, Kibuli, said his woes started last year when he met a one Charles in Kenya who convinced him that he knew Ugandans who sell genuine gold and in large quantities.

Belesis has since identified himself to detectives as a minerals dealer from the United States, a business he has traded in for over two decades. The 46-year-old said he travelled from the United States to Kenya in 2019 to purchase gold but he did not succeed. As he was planning to fly back to the US, he met Charles who befriended him and later told him about gold in Uganda.

“Charles gave me the contact of Capt Frank [Bwayo Martin] who I later met when I travelled to Uganda. Capt Frank told me he deals with only registered and recognized mineral companies. He told me to register my the company, acquire a license from geological minerals department, a certificate from Uganda Revenue Authority and National Social Security Fund,” Belesis said in a statement.

After providing the list of requirements that Belesis needed to meet before he started gold transactions, Bwayo told him that the process would take almost two years, and in order to speed up the process, Bwayo introduced him to Katwesigye alias Col Frank, who told him that they needed about 3 million US Dollars which he paid. He was later charged 2.5 million US Dollars for hiring an office at Mukwano Courts and helping him recruit some workers.

“I paid the money hesitantly but I was convinced I was dealing with genuine people since they asked me to meet all these procedures. They took me to where gold was being sold. I examined five kilogrammes of gold which were all genuine. They told me that they had over 800 kilogrammes of gold and they were willing to sell it to me,” Belesis added.

After testing the gold, Belesis gave Bwayo and Katwesigye an additional US Dollars 1.25 million But to his surprise, seven armed men dressed in military-like attires intercepted the box body truck on which the gold had been loaded. The armed men, Belesis said, claimed to have been sent by a government security agency because they had been tipped about an unlawful gold transaction. Katwesigye introduced himself to the seven armed men as a UPDF Colonel and he was saluted.

“Col Frank told me he was engaging the security men so that they could allow me to take my gold. He engaged them on the side and he later told me they had refused. I was asked to pay USD 750,000 more, but I became suspicious of endless expenses,” Belesis said.

It was at that point that Belesis’s friend told him to file a case at CID headquarters. The case was entered on GEF 086/2021. Fraud and money laundering detectives were assigned by CID Director AIGP Grace Akullo to trace the culprits.

The investigations led to the arrest of Martin Bwayo aka Capt Bob and Enock Katwesigye aka Col Frank. CID Spokesperson, ASP Charles Twine, said detectives are now looking for other suspects who masqueraded as soldiers and hijacked the gold truck.

At the time of arrest, ASP Twine said the genuine gold was smuggled and taken. Police have encouraged investors to avoid concealed transactions in order to avoid being duped by fraudsters. Police are now looking attach property which purchased using conned money.


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