The police on the 8/08/2019, received a complaint through an International call from Mirella Corona, a 91 year old, female adult, that her son Franco Mirella, who flew to Uganda from Hong Kong on 2/08/2019, had been kidnapped and tortured by suspected gold dealers. The Anti Kidnap response teams took over the matter and established the following;
That Franco Corona, first came to Uganda on the 9/03/2019, to purposely transact in gold. He met with some Congolese dealers, who cheated and sold him fake gold nuggets. Upon realising that he had been duped, he returned to Hong Kong. After four months, he returned to Uganda on the 2/08/2019, booked accommodation at Ivory Castle Hotel, Muyenga till 4/08/ 2019, when he disappeared from the Hotel. On the 5/08/2019, he went to First Jewelry shop, at Sheraton Hotel, with his samples which were evaluated and established as fake gold. The victim deposited his Italian passport number YB3010126, as security and retrieved it on the 7/08/2019 upon clearing the testing fees of USD 400.
He thereafter, left for Entebbe International Airport, where he was arrested for being in possession of undeclared gold. It was confiscated and exhibited, after it was established as fake gold, and the suspect released on bond, to report back on the 12/08/2019.
The task teams however traced him at Grand Imperial Hotel and handed him over to CID Headquarters for further management. The victim admitted that he had fabricated his story, and was never at risk. He is now fully cooperating with the task team, who are also investigating the suspects behind fake gold scams.
Despite the crackdown on fake gold dealers, this latest incident shows fraudsters still exist. They use gold plated metal bars, nuggets or powder to dupe their victims, majorly foreigners. They show their prospective buyers samples of genuine gold which are positively evaluated before entering into a sale agreement. Buyers easily fall into a trap of making huge profits.
We would like to appeal to all prospective buyers in the gold industry, to purchase gold from authorized dealers, with valid trading licence to conduct business. They can also seek guidance from the Ministry of Trade And Industry, the Department of Mines and Geological Surveys, The Uganda Investment Authority and the Police Minerals Enforcement Unit, before transacting in any minerals. This will save them from the financial and legal consequences they face out of fake mineral scams.
Cp Fred Enanga
Press and Public Relations Officer
Uganda Police Force