FORT PORTAL – Six people heard on Wednesday how they would each spend the next 365 days locked up at Katojo Government Prison for trafficking students with intent to extort money from them.
The six, on Wednesday appeared before the Fort Portal Chief Magistrate, Phionah Sheilla Angula, who sentenced them on their own guilty plea.
The six include, Lyndon Mugumisirize, Kenneth Aligonza, Godfrey Namisi, Esther Namakoye, Rebecca Nafuna and Enida Nandudu – all employees of Empowered Consumerism in Africa Company.
According to the court records – the six were picked up on January 4, 2023 for conning five students including, Phionah Muyama, Edwin Isaiah Napokoli, Doreen Mutuwa, Sophia Nandudu, and Sam Dimadu from Mbale and Bulambuli districts of their money with promises of getting them jobs in Fort Portal under Empowered Consumerism in Africa Company.
The victims narrated that each was asked to pay between Ugx1.4m to Ugx1.6m – which money would assist them in securing the said jobs.
“One of my former teachers connected me to Esther Namukoye-who claimed that she could she could get me a job,” said Napokoli – one of the victims, adding he was assured that he would earn between Ugx100, 000 to Ugx130, 000 a week from the promised employment. He explained that after going through the interviews, the convicts asked him to pay Ugx1.4m to purchase a laptop, company items including a uniform, shoes and Identity Card.
Napokoli narrated further that his father sold part of his coffee plantation to raise the required money but two weeks after payment, the company closed its offices as managers disappeared – prompting him and other victims to seek assistance from police authorities.
But the Wednesday court ruling left the victims unhappy – especially after the Chief Magistrate mentioned nothing related to refunding of their money. The victims believe that court should have ruled that the traffickers refund the money they had paid to the company in addition to compensation. Nandudu with tears running down her cheeks wondered how she was going to face her father after what had happened. She said that she was afraid that her father would punish her after wasting his money on her.