Police probe Amin son, Kenyan over gold scam

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021 00:00 |
Idi Amin’s son Taban at a past event. Photo/PD/FILE

Nyaboga Kiage

Police in Uganda are investigating the involvement of a Kenyan who worked in cahoots with former dictator Idi Amin’s eldest son Taban to allegedly defraud an American national Sh800 million in a fake gold scam. 

Thomas Anastasios Belesis, 47, jetted into the country in February and met a Kenyan who has only been identified as Charles at a Nairobi hotel who posed as a gold dealer.

The latter then linked him up with two Ugandan police deserters who have been identified as Police Constable Martin Bwayo alias Capt Bob and Enock Katwesigye alias Col Frank. 

Before he could leave Kenya for Uganda, Charles even took Belesis to a house in Kileleshwa where he  reportedly lived. This made the US national trust Charles in the deal. 

Bwayo and Katwesigye according to statements made by the victim masqueraded as senior Ugandan Police Defence Force (UPDF) officers who transact gold on behalf of key government officials.

In this case, the key government official was Taban who is the current Deputy Director of Internal Security Organ in Uganda. 

The People Daily established the Ugandan authorities have yet to make a formal request for their Kenyan counterparts to help in the probe though the latter have been monitoring the movement of the suspects from Uganda.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti has in the past warned foreigners to be cautious when dealing with gold dealers in the country.

In his recent remarks over the matter, he said that gold scam had reached alarming levels and foreign nationals lose a lot of money in the deals.

 “Foreigners should first contact the Department of Mines and Geology for procedure that pertains to buying and selling of gold and other precious metals,” Kinoti said, adding that they are to be apprised of the con business of gold going on in the country.

Early this week, Taban was grilled by Ugandan detectives in Kampala who questioned his involvement in the deal after his name was mentioned by Belesis, who has so far identified himself as a mineral dealer, a business he has been involved in for more than 20 years. 

Ugandan CID spokesperson Charles Twiine yesterday said the American national had already paid the required amount but it was allegedly intercepted by Taban who demanded for money before he could release the consignment to Canada.

“The consignment was coming from Cameroon and was designated for Canada via Nairobi and Dubai.

However, it was intercepted in Uganda and the owner asked to travel back to Uganda and pick it,” said Twiine.

In his statement, Belesis narrated how the Kenyan handed him the contact of Bwayo and he immediately travelled to Uganda.

Once they met, Bwayo told him that he only dealt with registered companies asking him to register his. 

Belesis was asked to register his company in Uganda, go ahead and acquire a license from the minerals department, a certificate from Uganda Revenue Authority and National Social Security Fund. 

The US national further said that he provided all the documents as required before he could start gold transactions and he was informed that the process to get the gold would take a period of two years. It is then that Bwayo introduced him to Katwesigye. 

In his first meeting with the duo- they demanded that he part with Sh300 million which he paid, he then paid an additional Sh250 million for hiring an office at Mukwano courts.

“I paid the money and was sure that I was dealing with genuine people because they asked me to meet all the procedures.

The two then took me to where gold was being sold where I examined five kilogrammes of gold which were all genuine,” Belesis said, adding that they then told him that they had 800 kilogrammes of gold that they were planning to sell to him. 

Belesis then left the country for the US via Kenya where he met Charles telling him that he had already paid the money and the consignment would be sent to him. 

However, days later, Belesis was shocked when he received bars of aluminum and not the gold he was scheduled to receive. 

Days later the US national received a call from Taban who told him that he was in possession of his gold asking him to travel to Uganda and pick the consignment. 

He arrived in Uganda where he was directed to Taban’s home where he was asked to pay Sh380 million to a list of 13 senior officials in exchange for the gold. 

The dealers then reached an agreement and the gold was loaded into a waiting track en route to Kenya where it was to be exported to the US. 

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