KAMPALA, Uganda: Hadn’t it been for the ‘gold dealers’ to take their ‘clients’ for a tour of DTB Bank deposits chambers along Parliamentary Avenue and picked samples from the gold havens, this story wouldn’t be filed as there shouldn’t have been a deal between the two parties and hence, no complaints raised.
Unlike in known instances where dealers in Uganda legitimize their bogus transactions using ‘proper’ legal processes, Bashir Ssemakula and group have their shortcut. They apply services of the hitherto respected Diamond Trust Bank officials to convince their targets that actually, they are selling genuine gold. Who wouldn’t trust any goods or money withdrawn from trusted Bank anyway?
This is how, Brazilians Maria Sulamita, 70, and son Fabio Eliandro fell victims and lost USD47, 300 to the shrewd city fellows on September 10th 2019 at Ssemakula’s office located at Hotel Africana – annexed BMK House, Level six Room two. “We believed the bank gold was genuine and we accepted it as a security for the USD47300,” cried Maria at Entebbe based Mineral Police base on Thursday.
Through her friend and South African national interpreter Johnnie Benerndo, Maria says her son, a wood dealer back in Brazil, developed love of gold business recently. He sought and landed willing buyers in Dubai who would pay him on delivery. “He [successfully] approached his Uncle for a soft loan of over USD600, 000 for the business.”
Through Jonnie and another friend, Bashir reportedly extended the invitation to Maria and Fabio, the latter came first and the former jetted in around three weeks ago, but was stopped at the airport for he didn’t have a properly arranged visa to Uganda. His Uncle smelt a rat. “If they couldn’t allow you in their country just because of a visa, how then will they allow you out with over 100kgs of gold,” he reportedly reasoned.
On his return, Fabio’s Uncle advised that 15kgs be bought as a sample, himself having heard of fake gold deals in Uganda. Bashir and team were conformable and proceeded with ‘tax preparations’ for the transaction.
The video clip in the Bank storage
Documents before us include supposedly forged receipts and bank slips to the effect. On Tuesday 10th 2019 at the earlier mentioned office premises, payments were done as shown in one of the featured video clips above.
After the payment, Bashir and team devised means to get rid of their victims. They supposedly organized with police at Jinja Road Station who drove in to effect an arrest, on allegations that their clients, especially Johnnie had ‘forged’ passports and that his numerous travels around Africa are suspicious!
Fabio’s Uncle fears had come to pass, rightfully thought Maria. They started moving around for whoever could help them. In search of help, as she walked around Muyenga, a bodaboda rider snatched her bag, taking off with all her vital documents, her passport inclusive. “This confirmed to me Bashir’s threats on my life. He has repeatedly warned and he wants us out of the country. He says we came as tourists and hence not allowed to transact business in Uganda, “she says.
When contacted, Bashir confirmed the incident at his office but said it wasn’t him in action. “That deal was done by certain boys and other guys from Angola but there are some people who want to blackmail me. If you need any information, I am available my brother,” he responded on Monday last week. However, during the transaction, they had fallen out with one of their own, a one Meddie, especially upon Johnnie’s arrest, correctly criticizing the double ‘punishment’ of theft and torture.
In several of the audio clips shared with police, Bashir’s said voice is heard ridiculing Meddie for not being ‘smart’ enough, choosing to side with foreigners instead of focusing on the money. “We thought we were dealing with a smart person, you might even cause us problems. Sulait [Kabangala] has the money,” he goes on to explain the expenditure of their loot to the less interested Meddie.
Indeed, upon their intervention, Mineral Police officers had arrested the receptionist, Nashim Muhumure, 22, who confirmed the transaction, having helped in counting the money. She mentions Sulait Kabangala and Mohammed Mbonde aka Ryan as other players. She further confirms, the soft hands seen in the video clip are hers and actually, she was counting money on the machine; “in our office.” Nashim was given “USD5, 700 of which mine was USD200 and the rest for office rent.”
On getting back to Bashir, he cut wires, saying we have failed to go for “people who kill others in the hospitals and disappears with their kidneys but die fighting gold businessmen,” He further warned us to “style up and tread carefully” on the matter. He also blamed police for arresting his secretary Nashim, who has no knowledge about the transaction.
Upon our visit at DTB Parliamentary Avenue branch yesterday, the duty manager referred us to his senior manager, a one Samuel Muyingo whose number he provided. We indeed called Muyingo and introduced the matter but he cut us short, saying he would call us back, a promise he never fulfilled until the filing of this report 24hrs after. Watch this space…
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