CMI busts gold scam, arrests city ‘tycoon’

Sunday August 18 2019

Mr Sam Buchanan (right) and his colle

Mr Sam Buchanan (right) and his colleagues were arrested over allegations of conning foreigners in gold deals. COURTESY PHOTO 

By TOM MALABA

Operatives of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) on Friday arrested Mr Sam Buchanan and two others whose names we could not readily establish over allegations of conning foreigners in gold deals.

Security sources familiar with the raid told Sunday Monitor that Mr Buchanan and group were arrested on allegations of defrauding a businessman, a non-Ugandan, of $500,000 (about1.8b).

The sources added that Mr Buchanan faces four other accusations of the same nature, involving millions of dollars.

Mr Buchanan is, among other things, the chairman of Great Stickers International, which is into promoting professional boxing. He is also connected to a company called FookMoon Agency Ltd. He is a renowned socialite in the city, known to many for his generosity.

Mr Buchanan, security sources say, was picked up from Bunga in Kampala, while the others were arrested from different places. He was then led to his home, a spacious mansion in Bukasa near Muyenga, Kampala, where the arresting officers conducted a search.

A source who participated in the operation said they recovered from Mr Buchanan’s house 100 bars of what they suspect to be fake gold, weighing scales for gold and gold testing machines.
Brig Richard Karemire, the army spokesperson, however, said he was not aware of the operation.

The case
“They conned some Korean national who supplied them with ambulances. The Korean was promised to be paid with gold, but they did not make good on their promise,” the security source said.

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After failing to pay, the source said, the Korean national followed up with Mr Buchanan, but was threatened with arrest, forcing him to flee back to his country.

The ambulances the Korean supplied, the source said, were parked at a location in Bunga and many of them were sold off to Members of Parliament, who supply them to their constituents with only a few remaining parked in the yard.

The security source further revealed that Mr Buchanan and others have been accused by a number of other foreigners who come to Uganda looking for business opportunities, but end up being lured into gold deals and conned.

Background
Earlier scams. In November last year, security agencies arrested individuals who are suspected to be part of a syndicate of Ugandan, Congolese and Cameroonian fake gold dealers for allegedly conning a Chinese investor.

Star Yang, a Chinese national, was lured to travel to Uganda with the prospect of buying gold. Upon reaching Uganda, he was linked to a one James Byaruhanga (40), alias Gavana, who said he had a company which deals in gold.

In a similar case which this newspaper reported about in March, Mr Wegnew Dessie, a man of Ethiopian origin, who lives in South Africa, is seeking justice in Ugandan courts after South Sudanese socialite Lawrence Malong and others allegedly conned him of $1.9m (about Shs7b) in a gold scam.

tmalaba@ug.nationmedia.com

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