By OUR REPORTER
KAMPALA, UGANDA: A city Businessman is crying foul after a gang of suspected criminals based in Kampala and Mbarara fleeced him of over USD $ 80,000 (Shs300m) in a blotched currency scum.
The city businessman (names withheld) revealed to this reporter how a close longtime family friend identified as Maimunah Neza Kebirungi aged 37 lured him into the trap that caused him untold mental anguish and colossal financial loss.
M/s Maimunah Kebirungi is a resident of Makindye, a Kampala suburb but married to a rich businessman and shareholder of a leading bus Company in Mbarara, Western Uganda.
The genesis of the woes
The whole saga commenced a few months, early this year before the COVID-19 lockdown was announced when Maimunah approached the ‘City Businessman’ after her ‘boyfriend’ a one Medi Mutoro had died.
“She (Maimunah) approached me just like a known friend telling me how her boyfriend who died of HIV/AIDS had left behind a United Nations Security safe box in her house. She told me that the safe box contained unspecified amounts of black dollars,” explained the conned businessman. Maimunah said the said money was a donation for an NGO to construct a school, but since her boyfriend had died, she was unable to clean it due to financial constraints.
Apparently, Maimunah’s late boyfriend, whose identity is yet to be established was a suspected criminal gang implicated in the rampant fake currency deals in the city.
Considering her as a family friend, the businessman decided to be of help by asking Maimunah what exactly needed to be done.
“She then told me that before the demise of her boyfriend, he had a string of friends who used to visit them and the discussion was ever regarding the printing of money. She contacted those friends and soon we met,” he explained.
The “friends’ were identified as a one Moses Mugisha, the ring leader. In the communications intercepted, Moses was using phones number 0781647129, apparently registered in someone else’s name.
Moses wasn’t alone, his other accomplices included a one Lawrence who was communicating using phone number 0770868059, Ronald using phone number 0705413116 that we discovered was registered under the names of Joseline Tumuhozi. Then another was a one, Hajji, using phone number 0754441390 registered under the names of Bagazonza Hussein Benson.
According to the revelations, Maimunah told her victim that Moses, Ronald, and Lawrence were staff working with the United Nations and based in Entebbe.
“One day I drove to Lake Victoria Serena Kigo where we met the trio. During the meeting, they told me that the safe box left with Maimunah contained millions of dollars that needed some chemical to clean up.” “I was convinced that the chemical would cost about $80,000.”
The businessman at this time was convinced that he had fallen into things. He went to money lenders in town and staked his prime property in town for the $80,000.
He notes that what made him more convinced was when the four came to his pad with some black notes a bottle of some chemicals and did some ‘cleaning’. “I saw some bills of 20$ and $100 and got excited and more convinced, but I insisted that I would only pay after the safe box was delivered in my house.” He explained.
After the safe box was dropped, Maimunah and her accomplices were paid the $80,000 promising to go and purchase the chemical needed for the currency cleaning.
“When they went they didn’t return when I called them the phones were off. After a while, they returned and did another experiment where they cleaned some black dollars’ worth $3,000. I later realized this was part of the real dollars I had given them,” he explained, rather traumatised.
The gang also have in their possession a video that they send to their ‘clients’ showing boxes of brand new fake US dollars wrapped in cotton wool. (https://www.facebook.com/Shiftmedianews/videos/565789577690135/)
When the gang returned and demanded more cash, the businessman became suspicious, and when they realized he was not releasing any more cash, they vanished and switched off their phones.
“After a while I decided to open the safe box to ascertain the contents, only to find it empty,” he said. We tried to call the phones, but they are all switched off.
House sale deal goes bad
As if that was not enough, Maimunah is also accused of trying to sell a house that purportedly belongs to her husband, the Sheik based in Mbarara. The said house is located in Makindye division in Kampala. According to the city businessman, Maimunah was selling the said house at shs 300 million. “I had initially advanced her shs50million, but when I made checks, I realized the building was for the husband and it had a caveat placed on it,” he said.
Not new scenario in Kampala
Police in Kampala has over the years recovered millions of counterfeit Ugandan shillings and US dollars after raids in homes of suspected criminal gangs dealing in counterfeit currency in Kampala.
Early this year the Directorate of Criminal Intelligence conducted four separate raids on criminal gangs dealing in counterfeit currencies at Cham Towers, Crystal Valley Hotel Mengo, and selected outskirts of Kampala. The task team seized fake Uganda shillings, black dollars bills totaling 10.500 USD 200, 16 bundles of black US Paper Dollars and chemicals among several exhibits,” the statement posted on the police Twitter handle reads in part.
Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga states in the statement, that four Cameroon nationals and three Ugandans were arrested during the operations while they were planning to carry out an illegal business dealing in minerals from Cham Towers.
Enanga said the operations were conducted in Lukuli-Kibalama LC1, Makindye Division, were several exhibits were recovered, which included; 560 counterfeit notes in the denomination of Shs50,000, 105 counterfeit US dollar bills $100 totaling 10.500, 7 bottles of chemical (6 small bottles of 60mg and I white bottle of mg).
Other operations were also conducted at Crystal Valley Hotel, Mengo where one Mugume Willi-son alias Mugisha was rearrested with 16 bundles of Black US Paper dollars, a seal written on United States Security, Safe box.
Police have warned the public to be vigilant and always report such transactions noting that the suspects use the chemicals and black counterfeit notes (shillings and dollars) to defraud victims after cleaning the dark substance on the selected genuine notes.”
Shs50 Million Reward Awaits
Not feeling fallen completely, the businessman has a reward of UGX 50 million ($13,300) for any person who leads to where Maimunah is hiding. “The money will be paid in cash to anyone with information leading to the tracing of Maimunah Kebirungi Neza,” he said.