Senior Energy Ministry Official Arrested for $50m Fraud Against Serbian Investor

Kampala, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | According to intelligence received by our publication, a high-ranking official at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, located at Amber House in Kampala, is currently in custody for his alleged involvement in a scheme to defraud a Serbian investor of $50 million. The detained individual, identified as Spero Byokunda, serves as the Head of Petroleum Quality and Assurance at the Ministry of Energy. He was apprehended by the State House Anti-corruption unit under reference number ACU GEF 176/23 after being located in hiding.

The reported events suggest that on August 22nd of this year, Spero Byokunda, along with other individuals who remain at large, arranged a meeting with a Serbian investor who was interested in energy-related projects at Amber House, inside the Ministry’s boardroom. Curiously, he did not attend the meeting himself and instructed George Byomugabe to chair the meeting, posing as the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development.

Following this meeting, Byokunda allegedly demanded the final installment from the investor, who subsequently grew suspicious and sought guidance from higher government authorities. The investor was advised not to make any payments until the authorities had full knowledge of the individuals he was dealing with. Subsequently, state intelligence detectives devised a strategy using the investor, who promised to pay them $20 million. This money was supposed to be collected from the hotel where the investor was staying.

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Upon realizing that it was a trap, Byokunda and his associates declined to pick up the money, fearing arrest. This initiated an intensive investigation, resulting in the gradual apprehension of the involved individuals.

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The State House Anti-corruption team handled the matter discreetly, systematically taking into custody individuals from the Ministry of Energy, one by one, until they captured the main suspect.

Our sources at Amber House reported that the arrests began with the secretary to the Minister of Energy and Byokunda’s secretary. These individuals were directly involved in preparing the meeting venue at the Ministry’s boardroom. After interrogation, they provided details about the meeting, and they were subsequently released.

This chain of events led to the arrest of George Byomugabe at Amber House last Thursday. He was first taken to the Central Police Station in Kampala and later transferred to Wandegeya Police station for further questioning. He was eventually released on police bond after spending five days in detention.

Following these arrests, state detectives discovered other individuals involved in the scheme. This led to the apprehension of two more people: John Bosco Mugisha, also known as Boyzon, who serves as a Personal Assistant to Hon. Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, and Spero Byokunda himself. Two additional members of the group, one in government employment and the other in the private sector, were also arrested and remain in police custody.

It is worth noting that Spero Byokunda has previously faced allegations of involvement in corrupt activities. During his tenure at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), he was reportedly dismissed for his participation in fraudulent transactions. Furthermore, while working at the Ministry of Energy, he was among those ordered by the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to refund UGX 70,159,400. As of the latest information, this sum has not been repaid to the treasury.

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