Middle East Boss held by Police over fraud and Human Trafficking

Police are holding managers of labour exporting company – Middle East Consultancy – over allegations of fleecing people of large sums of money, purporting to get them jobs abroad.

Benon Kunywana and Owen Ayamba, the company’s general and recruiting manager, respectively, were yesterday arrested at the State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) offices, after being grilled for over 30 minutes over the said allegations.

Twenty-seven victims petitioned SHACU, demanding sh51m from the company. However, Kunywana paid sh22m and promised to clear the balance on Friday.

The SHACU head, Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, handed over the suspects to the Police, who later took the duo to the Central Police Station.

“Paying part of the money does not close the case of obtaining money by false pretence against you because there is already a file at Police. I, therefore, hand over the suspects to Police for custody,” she said.

The Police said charges of obtaining money by false pretence will be slapped against Kunywana, while Ayamba faces charges of uttering false documents and human trafficking.

Early this year, 27 girls were scheduled to leave the country but were intercepted before leaving Entebbe International Airport. Nakalema said there has been a public outcry about trafficking of Ugandans, prompting them to launch investigations against labour exporting companies on July 15.

She said, in a meeting she had with the Permanent Secretary of the labour ministry, foreign affairs ministry, internal affairs ministry, Uganda Police and criminal intelligence, they had agreed to investigate the matter of labour exploitation and human trafficking. Nakalema said 30 labour- exporting companies were under investigation.

However, she disclosed that seven companies had many cases which had not yet been concluded, with four being identified for making Ugandans suffer in Arab countries.

In their petition, the victims claim that they were tortured, as they demanded their money from the company. However, Kunywana denied allegations of torturing the victims.

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Patrick Luwagga is the editorial director of cross-platform content for UGANDANZ. He works across the newsroom and with business partners to drive and develop ambitious editorial projects that include digital journalism, video, data research, polling, live events, and thought-leadership series that are supported by outside underwriting. As executive director, he is responsible for the creation of Political news section, prior to joining UGANDANZ, Patrick was the chief editor for the national weekly news magazine of Kasese Times. In that role, he covered several presidential elections, wrote and produced two television documentaries, and was a regular commentator on television and radio news programs. Patrick was born in Masaka and grew up in Kasese. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Makerere University where he was a Knight Foundation journalism fellow.