South Sudanese tycoon, two others remanded to Luzira over fraud

Thursday March 21 2019

South Sudanese tycoon, Mr Lawrence Malong Lual

South Sudanese tycoon, Mr Lawrence Malong Lual Yor (mid) and his two accomplices, at Buganda Road Magistrates Court on Thursday March 21, 2018. PHOTOS BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA. 

By Ephraim Kasozi

Kampala. Three people including a South Sudan businessman, Mr Lawrence Malong Lual Yor, have been remanded to Luzira Prison over alleged fraud in connection with obtaining money by false pretence.

Mr Malong, 30, from South Sudan and a resident of High Neem No. 3 in Juba and Mirano Hotel in Kabalagala, a Kampala suburb was jointly charged with a broker of Congolese nationality, Mr Mike Okitalunyi Lota, a resident of Munyonyo in Makindye Division, and Gavana Thaddeus Zikusooka alias James Byaruhanga, a businessman in Kajansi Central Town, Wakiso District.

They were arraigned before the Magistrate’s Court at Buganda Road presided over by Ms Joan Ketty Acaa and were read charges of obtaining money by false pretences, which they denied.
Ms Acaa then remanded the suspects until April 4, 2019 for further mention of their case. This was after the defence lawyer Mr Fred Erisata, asked the court for a shorter adjournment to enable the suspects apply for bail.

Prosecution contends that between February 2017 and December 2018 at different places in Kampala, Malong, Lota and Zikusooka obtained $1.9 million from businessman Wegnew Desire purporting that they were selling him 150kg of gold whereas not.

Mr Malong, a businessman and socialite known for posting photographs of himself lying on the bed full of dollars, was arrested by the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) operatives in November 2018 in regard to investigations that linked him to gold scams in which several foreigners had lost billions of shillings.


How it happened
In an interview, Mr Wegnew a South African based businessman of Ethiopian origin explained that the suspects approached him purporting to sell him gold at $23,000 per kilogramme.

“When I paid them money for the kilogramme, they told me that the shipment was not possible for small amounts. They asked me for more money such that they can ship five kilogrammes. I flew to Dubai but while there, they called me to Uganda and they told me to give them more money such that they could sell me 150kgs,” he said.

According to Mr Wegnew, Mr Malong offered himself as a license holder for gold trade while Mr Lota was the seller.

In the bid to raise money for the entire 150kgs, Mr Wegnew revealed that he acquired loans from South Africa where he is on the verge of losing both his businesses and his home.