KAMPALA – Hours after at least 15 suspected phone-tricksters based at KK Trust Building along Namirembe road were arrested in a clandestine operation on Tuesday; more than 20 victims emerged – recording statements that pin the fraudsters.
Police swung into action after receiving numerous complaints at Old Kampala, Nateete, and Kampala Central Police Stations indicating that fraudsters position themselves outside phone shops – divert probable customers – robbing them of their money through retailing toy or fake mobile phones.
According to the complainants, the fraudsters have been operating along Kampala road, Mutaasa Kafeero Building and Ben Kiwanuka road.
Clare Nabakka – the Police Deputy spokesperson, said the force deployed covert personnel who worked with local leaders to identify the movements, patterns, and hideouts of the suspects.
Nabakka said prior intelligence had revealed that most of the fraudsters were conning people of their money in the basement of the KK Trust building in Kisenyi I Zone, along Namirembe road.
Detectives who are processing the suspects for prosecution before courts of law have identified the notorious faces as James Mutabazi, Hamis Wavamuno, Arthur Gumisiriza, Musa Waswa, Ivan Lusiba, Umar Semwanga, Daniel Wokulira, Grace Mukajanga, Francis Oketcho, Joel Baryejusa, Muzafar Nyanzi, Emmanuel Kwesiga, Musa Mudiima, Martin Kayiira and Edgar Rugendo.
Before the covert operation that led to the arrest of the suspects, the police station had recorded at least ten complaints.
However, more than 20 people came with the hope of finding their mobile phones among the 18 expensive smartphones recovered from the suspects. Police said the cheapest phone recovered costs about Ugx2m.
“We have 18 smartphones but we are interrogating them to get more details about their operation style and we are conducting people who might have bought these stolen phones to record statements.
“We are going to charged them with theft, and being in possession of suspected stolen items,” said a detective.
George William Muwanga -a Boda boda rider said the tricksters had duped in releasing of Ugx1.3m after cornering him from Mutaasa Kafeero Plaza. Muwanga narrated that two men in their early 20s found him outside a mobile phone shop and convinced him to go to KK Trust for the better version of a smartphone he wanted.
“They showed me a sample of the smartphones they had in their shops at KK Trust Building. I even rode them on my motorcycle. I check the phone and it was good and functioning very well. But when I reached home, I realized they had stealthily given me a toy phone in the process of packing it for me,” said Muwanga.