Kampala District Land Board Chairperson Remanded to Luzira Prison in $600,000 Gold Scam Case
David Balondemu, the chairperson of the Kampala District Land Board, finds himself in legal trouble as he has been remanded to Luzira prison on charges of obtaining money from a Korean investor under false pretenses. The 52-year-old Balondemu was brought before the City Hall Chief Magistrate’s Court, presided over by Mr. Edgar Karakire, following his arrest by officials from the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and the police.
The state alleges that Balondemu, along with others, engaged in fraudulent activities that led to the defrauding of Mr. Hyun Uk Kim, a Korean investor, of a significant sum of $600,000 (approximately Shs2.2 billion). This scam revolved around 53 kilograms of purported gold. Balondemu’s bail application was unsuccessful, and he will remain in custody until November 6, 2023.
Magistrate Karakire expressed the need to carefully study the extensive submissions presented by both the prosecution and the defense before making a ruling, which ultimately led to Balondemu’s remand.
The arrest of David Balondemu follows a formal complaint made by Mr. Kim to the President, in which he claimed to have suffered significant financial losses due to fraudulent gold dealings in Kampala.
The prosecution, led by Ms. Mercy Yamangusho Khaidarah, has also requested the court to issue a warrant of arrest for Geoffrey Eric Mkwe, another lawyer, who faces similar charges in this complex case.
Balondemu’s appearance in court comes on the heels of the earlier remand of two of his co-accused, James Jeff Mugisha and Godfrey Maviri, both of whom are self-employed. They were remanded on October 4, 2023, for alleged offenses dating back to 2021. Their next court appearance is scheduled for November 25, 2023.
According to the charge sheet, Balondemu, Mkwe, Mugisha, Maviri, and others who remain at large are accused of conspiring to obtain $600,000 from Mr. Kim through false pretenses, particularly by claiming to sell him gold. The transactions in question included a Memorandum of Understanding, a deposit payment of $208,000, and additional payments for Cargo Flight Insurance.
During the course of these transactions, law enforcement reportedly recovered six kilograms of suspected gold nuggets from Maviri’s residence. Additionally, it is alleged that the accused individuals had shown Mr. Kim these gold nuggets as part of their fraudulent scheme.
This case highlights the importance of addressing fraudulent activities in the gold trade and emphasizes the need for thorough investigations and legal actions to protect investors and uphold the rule of law in such matters. As the legal proceedings continue, the public awaits further developments in this high-profile gold scam case.
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