Police have arrested a suspected serial phone thief, who has been on the run for the last three years.
According to the police, Mike Mugarura, whose pictures were splashed to the journalists during the weekly press briefing in Naguru, Kampala on Monday, had allegedly been defrauding his victims of money, fuel, and airtime.
Mr Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson, said investigations were mounted by the Police’s Criminal Investigations Department in partnership with sister security agencies such as ISO, that discovered that Mugarura was involved in more than 52 phone scams since 2009 and he has allegedly been impersonating people in the country.
“Last week, we had cracked down on a criminal gang of phone scammers. We managed to arrest a one Mugarura who has been the prime suspect and has masterminded majority of the phone scams. He was arrested and we had him produced in court. He was charged with four counts of impersonation and two counts of obtaining money by false pretence,” Mr Enanga said.
He added: “Among the VIPs he defrauded without their knowledge are Gen Salim Saleh, Internal Affairs minister, Rtd Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr Johnson Byabashaijja, Col Kizza Besigye, former Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Prof Ogenga Latigo, city tycoon Patrick Bitature, late governor of Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Mutebile, Sam Kutesa, Alhajj Moses Kigongo, the former boss of Vision Group, Mr Robert Kabushenga.”
Mugarura has allegedly been stealing information about his victims from websites such as that of the National Social Security Fund, government ministries, departments, police website, and various social media sites, and information from telephone subscriber networks such as UTL, MTN, and Airtel.
“At one time, he presented himself as the son to the late Brig Noble Mayombo and he could defraud people, promising them jobs. He could ask for money fuel and other things,” Mr Enanga added.
Mr Enanga said his latest victims were forensic police officers, whom he allegedly enticed with study opportunities in the UK, USA and South Africa.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson revealed that the police had recovered 34 stolen vehicles, 10 of which were handed over to the rightful owners yesterday.
Mr Enanga urged motorists and drivers to park in secure places if the vice is to be minimised.