Lawyer Balondemu petitions Minister Otafiire in Shs 15bn gold scam probe

30 Apr 2024

The State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) has initiated inquiries into seven suspected cases of fraud related to land and gold scams against city lawyer and chairman of Kampala District Land Board, David Balondemu.

These fraudulent activities purportedly occurred within three legal firms, including M/s Bloom Advocates, M/s Balondemu & Co. Advocates, and M/s Balon Advocates, all believed to be associated with Balondemu.

According to a statement released by the Anti-Corruption Unit on April 29, Balondemu and his unnamed associates are accused of defrauding international businessmen from Kenya, South Africa, the United States, and Korea through fictitious gold transactions. 

One such incident involves an alleged swindle of $600,000  (Shs2.2bn) from a Korean national, Kim Uk Hyun, in a supposed 53-kilogram gold deal, purportedly facilitated by M/s Balondemu & Co. Advocates.

Another case under scrutiny by SHACU involves $1.7 million (6.3bn) from Air Options Pty Ltd, a South African company, with the transaction purportedly finalized through M/s Balon Advocates. Furthermore, an alleged scheme to defraud $410,520  (Shs 2.2bn) from KG Unlimited LLC, an American company, is attributed to M/s Bloom Advocates. There is also a case involving USD 60,000 (Shs 225m).

Additionally, Balondemu faces accusations, including the fraudulent allocation of non-existent land to a Kenyan company, Babhubai Construction Limited, for Ugx 450 million, orchestrated through Bloom Advocates. Moreover, he is implicated in a case involving the fraudulent conversion of property in Plot 20 Prince Charles Drive, where Balondemu is accused of forging documents and providing false testimony in court.

Responding to these allegations, after Balondemu petitioned him for alleged witch-hunt, Minister of Internal Affairs Kahinda Otafiire has disclosed receiving complaints from businesspeople who claim to be victims of a witch-hunt by state corruption investigators. 

Balondemu is among those who have approached Otafiire, alleging persecution by the corruption unit for refusing to offer bribes, despite purported clearance from the president through a police officer named Suzan Kasingye.

Balondemu contends that he is being targeted because he obstructed corrupt dealings involving Kampala mafias, who were reportedly siphoning off large sums of money from transactions at Owino market. He urges Otafiire to investigate the motives behind the Anti-Corruption Unit’s actions, which he alleges are veering towards persecution rather than prosecution.

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