Kampala land boss Balondemu charged afresh over Shs2b fraud

Kampala land board chairperson David Balondemu (R) together with his co-accused Joseph Ibona are seen in the dock on November 20, 2023 at Buganda Road Magistrate’s Court. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA.

What you need to know:

  • The duo denied multiple charges as the appeared in Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court but they were remanded. 

Kampala land board chairperson David Balondemu was Monday arraigned in court on fresh charges of alleged fraud in connection with obtaining more than Shs2billion from a United States based firm, KG Unlimited LLC.

Balondemu, who is also a lawyer in the city, was jointly charged with Bloom Advocates Limited accountant Joseph Ibona.

The duo denied charges of obtaining money by false pretense and conspiracy to commit a felony as the appeared before Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court presided by Winnie Nankya.

But they were remanded to Luzira Prison amidst lengthy submissions from their lawyers seeking to have them bailed, pending the hearing of their case.

"There are many documents involved in this application. The national identification cards, the employment cards, local council letters, affidavits opposing the application and medical forms of Balondemu.  So, I need time to look through these documents before I make a decision on the application. I am remanding you until Wednesday when you (Balondemu) are supposed to have an operation,” Nankya held before remanding the suspects until November 22.

Balondemu and his co-accused were re-arrested last week as they reported to police investigators in connection with the ongoing investigations regarding multiple cases against him.

Meantime, the two are also accused jointly with carpenter Ronald Tumusiime Kaweesa Kizito aka Denis and city lawyer Eric Geoffrey Mkwe who were not in court.  

Prosecution led by State Attorney Ivan Kyazze said inquiries into the case are still ongoing.

He requested for a mention date as well as criminal summons to be issued for Kaweeda Kizito and Mkwe. 

It is alleged that between November 2022 and April 2023 at Bloom Advocates located at Kingdom Building in Kampala, Kaweesa, Balondemu, Mkwe, Ibona and others still at large, with intent to defraud obtained $553,000 (more than Shs2 billion) from KG Unlimited LLC by falsely pretending that they were going to award it a contract of supplying agricultural Drone Sprayers and fertilisers from Uganda’s ministry of agriculture, animal industries and fisheries whereas not.

The state contends that the four accused and others on the run conspired to commit a felony by obtaining the said money falsely from the American firm.

Second case

This is the second time that Balondemu, who is currently on bail pending trial, is appearing in court on similar accusations.

On October 20, Balondemu was remanded to Luzira Prison over defrauding a Korean investor of more than Shs2billion in a gold scam. 

Balondemu is jointly facing the charge with 34-year-old James Jeff Mugisha and 38-year-old Godfrey Maviri, both self-employed.

Balondemu was arrested by the State House Anti-corruption unit following a complaint by foreign national Hyun Kim to the president that he had lost lots of money to Kampala dealers.

According to the charge sheet, Balondemu, Mkwe, Mugisha, Maviri and others still at large between the months of March and November 2021 at the offices of M/S Balondemu & CO Advocates along Parliamentary avenue in Kampala City, conspired and obtained $600,000 (about Shs 2.2billion) by falsely pretending that they were selling to Hyun UK Kim 53kilograms of gold whereas not.

Court documents further indicate that Hyun was contacted by Mugisha who knew the alleged gold seller to whom he got in touch with after being picked from the airport by the alleged son and interpreter of the seller.