Kampala, Uganda | URN | Economic Crime Investigators from the Uganda Police Force have launched a manhunt for seven unnamed soldiers from the elite Special Forces Command (SFC) accused of defrauding a US national, Anastasios Belesis over Shillings 20 billion in a gold scam.
Belesis filed a case at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) headquarters last month implicating over 10 people for participating in a scam, where he lost at least US$ 5.5 million approximately more than Shillings 20 billion.
In his case registered vide GEF 086/2021at CID; Belesis said he was hoodwinked by Enock Katwesigye alias Col Frank and Martin Bwayo alias Capt Bob into the gold scam. The duo, according to Belesis, hijacked the gold they had sold him with armed men dressed in military uniform.
Although CID arrested Katwesigye and Bwayo, Belesis and his Ugandan ally insist that the armed men that hijacked the Canter box body truck that was transporting the gold were dressed like SFC soldiers.
Detectives have since established that Katwesigye is actually an SFC deserter while Bwayo is a Police Constable who deserted the force about seven years ago. It is alleged that Katwesigye has since confessed that he used his former colleagues at SFC in the gold scam.
“Our investigations indicate that they were eight armed people dressed in military uniform who intercepted the gold truck. But we have since established that two of these are deserters while the rest are still serving in the military,” the detective said.
A detective at CID has revealed that they have notified the SFC leadership about the soldiers they suspect to have been involved in defrauding Belesis claiming that they were on official duty to arrest illegal gold dealers. According to preliminary findings by the CID, the fraudsters showed Belesis five kilograms of genuine gold, which made him believe that the entire 800kgs are authentic.
The CID has since impounded the metallic boxes allegedly used to transport the gold. But detectives say all the boxes contain fake gold. Charles Twine, the CID Spokesperson, said he was yet to get details about the SFC soldiers wanted in connection to the gold scam.
He however confirmed that the victims indicated that the gold truck was intercepted and hijacked by armed men wearing military uniform.
The victim identified himself to detectives as a minerals dealer from the United States, a business he has been for over two decades. Belesis said that he travelled from the United States to Kenya in 2019 to purchase gold but did not succeed.
As he was planning to fly back to the US, he met someone he only identified as Charles who befriended him and later told him about the gold business in Uganda.