Tour operator in Kigezi accused of conning tourists

Tour operator in Kigezi accused of conning tourists
Richard Tusasibwe, the Chief Executive Director of Gatatu Safaris Limited

Kigezi, Uganda | URN | Richard Tusasibwe, the Chief Executive Director of Gatatu Safaris Limited a tour company in Kigezi is on the spot for allegedly conning five tourists.

Tusasibwe is alleged to have signed a contract with five tourists from United States of America last week.

A police source attached to tourism police who preferred anonymity says that the contract worth 7.9 million shillings included picking the tourists from Entebbe International Airport and drive them to Kisoro town.

The contract also required Tusasibwe to book them a hotel and five Chimpanzee and Gorilla habituation permits after he was paid part of the money to help him effectively conduct bookings.

According to the officer, Tusasibwe received his balance of 5.5 million shillings after picking them at Entebbe International Airport on Saturday 27th to drive them up to Kisoro.

However, when the tourists reached Kisoro town, Tusasibwe abandoned the tourists at Chameleon Hill Hotel, switched off his phones and disappeared.

The source says that the tourists were shocked to find that Tusasibwe did not book for them any accommodation, despite having received full payment.

The tourists who also preferred anonymity were also surprised that Tusasibwe had booked only four habituation permits out of five as outlined in the contract.

Emmanuel Tinka, the Tourism Police Commander-in-charge of Kigezi region says that his office has received the matter and it is being investigated. Tinka declined to give details on the matter saying that it is very sensitive to tourism industry since it is now peak season.

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However, Tusasibwe denies the allegations. He says they had agreed that he is paid 7.3 million shillings but was paid only 5.5 million shillings after the tourists said that they would book the accommodation themselves.

Tusasibwe also denies abandoning the tourists, but says he separated with them after failing to agree on contract terms and conditions.

This is not the first time the tour operators in the area are accused of conning tourists.

In February, Didan Atukunda a tour operator from Mamba Gorilla Safari was arrested after he failed to refund 99 million shillings that was mistakenly sent to his account by a Dutch tourist for a gorilla trekking trip.

Peter Nickilin from the Netherlands paid 110 million shillings instead of 11 million shillings for a trip to trek Gorillas in October 2017.

It is until Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) intervened to arrest him.