Fraudsters in our Midst, Ugandan Diaspora, Be Afraid

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in Issue 7

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By Drone Namunye, aka Mpungu

In Summary: Lucky and Favor are long term watering buddies who also love their fun especially when they are not digging deep into their often pot-holed pockets to have a bash. The two never miss a merry-making opportunity whenever it makes itself available. Despite their closeness as socialites, they have never been political soulmates. Since February, the two have often expressed divergent and sometimes extreme views about politics especially regarding the elections in Uganda and what has turned out to be the most bizarre party primaries in the US. But at a recently high profile social gathering of several Diaspora communities in Dallas, something unifying, beyond the bottle was on the minds of this imbibing duo.

Dallas, Texas—At a recently high profile social gathering of several Diaspora communities in Dallas, something unifying, beyond the cold bottle, preoccupied the minds of Lucky and Favor, an imbibing duo, famous for their fiercely contrasting but civilized political views and adoration for a one community belle, Honey Nvannungi than poking into monetary deals gone bad. But what pre-occupied the two this time round, was both economic and social. Having arrived an hour earlier, and settling in a quiet and dimly lit corner, it did not take them long before opening their heavy hearts out to each other. Yet, perched on the proverbial wall, Drone Namunye, aka Mpungu, unknown to the duo, was listening in.   

Lucky was the first to fire the shot: This story doing the rounds within the Ugandan Diaspora community living in the DFW area is both ironical and interesting.

“It has also left me dumbfounded as the details are simply shocking,” Favor chipped in.

“For two good friends to end up in such a mess is a lesson most of us should learn from,” Lucky stated as he sipped from his ‘sweating’ bottle.

“I hope and pray that this saga will save some Ugandans and other communities in the Diaspora from experiencing the pain and financial losses resulting from working with some croocked and unscrupulous fellow countrymen,” Favor observed thoughtfully.

Just at that point, one of their female friends, a lady widely acknowledged to have an unfair share of good looks, appeared and joined them. For reasons only known to them, neither Lucky nor Favor ever resisted any requests she ever asked of them.

“Hey guys, you are all wearing serious faces. What’s going on?” She asked, her stunning beauty visible even under the dim light  as she took a seat between them.

Lucky: We were just starting to talk about this story about a fraud that is doing the rounds within this community of folks from the Pearl of Africa.

That is Uganda, I guess, the female companion offered as she held out her Heineken bottle to Favor to open. Nearly both spilled their drinks trying to out-compete one another to open her bottle first.

Favor: It all started when two families coming from the same country, Uganda, met in US to seek better life for their families.

Lucky: At that time both families were trying hard to provide for their young children. From time to time they would spend countless hours on the phone sharing ideas on how to improve their wellbeing in their new homeland, United States.

Favor: Often they would come together and share thoughts as well as pass on time.

“Then what happened?” The lady, later identified as Honey Nvannungi, enquired.

Lucky:  As time went by, the two families got closer and trusted each other more.

Favor: One day, John, whose other name is Nawolovu (meaning chameleon), head of one family approached Peter, also called Lwazi (meaning rock), the head of the other family and asked him for a loan. The loan was to expand John's business in Uganda.

Lucky: Peter gave John the money. At the end of the agreed period, John paid Peter back the money.

Favor: And John proved such a trustworthy friend and for countless times, he borrowed money from Peter and repaid the loans promptly.

Lucky: One day, John asked Peter for a substantial sum of money and he got it because Peter willingly gave the considerable amount of money to John because Peter had developed a lot of trust in his friend John.

Favor: It was now clear that John had gained Peter’s confidence.

Lucky: Sure. But one day, Peter was shocked when he received an email from John suggesting a plan for debt recovery.

Favor: Shocked, Peter, a man whose faith in his family is as solid as a rock, shared the email with members of his family.

Lucky: After a while, in 2010, Peter replied to John’s email with what he thought were reasonable and acceptable conditions for repaying the money owed to him.

“Then what was John’s reaction?” Their lady companion asked.

Favor:  As sure as night follows day, John Nawolovu, suddenly changed his color as a chameleon and refused to honor the payment plan proposed by Peter.

Lucky: As I said earlier, Peter Lwazi, a man with strong beliefs in community, brought the matter to the attention of elders in the Ugandan community.

“How did John, ’chameleon’ react?” The lady companion asked once again.

Favor: Even then, John became so obstinate and still did not listen to the community advice to solve the debt amicably.

Lucky: By the way, John even refused to attend a meeting the community elders convened to mediate in the debt conflict.

Favor: Left with no choice, when no amicable solution was found, Peter, a man after justice, took John to a US court for help in 2013.

Lucky: The case was heard and court ordered John to pay back Peter’s money together with Lawyer's fees and the accumulated interest.

Favor: However, instead of obeying the court order, John opted to flee back to Uganda.

Lucky: But Peter hopped on the plane and followed John and took the same case to the high court in Uganda.

“Did Peter expect justice from what are alleged to be widely corrupt courts in Uganda?” The lady asked both men

Favor: This time, even the court in Uganda saw how unfair John was     to his long-time friend Peter and the extent to which he had behaved fraudulently.

Lucky: After getting all the evidence from Peter’s lawyers, the High Court in Uganda agreed with the judgement delivered in the US court and ordered John to pay Peter his money back.

“Has the chameleon paid back?” Lady Nvannungi asked with curiosity.

Favor: Wapi!  John has so far refused to pay; instead he is busy hiding all his assets from the authorities.

“And now what will Peter do?” The lady asked with concern.

Lucky: What else but to wait and let the law take its course.

Favor: I can say with confidence that the teachable message in this story is, never trust anyone so as to lend him/her your money without collateral.

Lucky: Second, I urge all Ugandans in the Diaspora to be very careful about trusting other so called friends from Uganda because some of them will steal your money and leave you wondering what happened.

“But how much money are we talking about?” The lady enquired

Favor: From reliable sources, we understand as of now, John owes Peter well over $300,000.

“And how much is that in Museveni’s Uganda’s shillings?” The lady asked as she reached for her bottle.

Lucky: The conservative estimate is over 1.4 billion shillings.

Favor: Besides Peter’s traumatic experience, perhaps others in our Diaspora communities have fallen victim to such fraudsters as John.

Lucky: That is true. Now is time for conmen in our midst to be exposed to save Diaspora communities from losing their hard-earned dollars from kyeyo.

“That man, John Nawolovu, ‘chameleon’ should go to jail and the jailers should throw the keys in Lake Victoria, the jewel of the duo volunteered a solution with finality.

“Agreed,” Favor and Lucky responded in unison.

Fellow Ugandans in the Diaspora, we have fraudsters in our midst. Be afraid,” the belle warned as she signaled the gentlemen admirers to get her another bottle. By now, guests were filing in and the privacy of their conversation could no longer be sustainable.

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