John Mwangutsya, the director of Crypto Bridge African Limited has been arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on suspicion of defrauding Ugandans of over 3 billion.
CID spokesperson Charles Twiine, says Mwangutsya reportedly defrauded more than 1,000 Ugandans through online digital transactions between 2018 and 2020 before vanishing.
According to police, the suspect advertised through various print and electronic media that his company was involved in online businesses for various individuals through the sale of bitcoins and would credit them in the form of shares virtually.
“The suspect Mwangutsya, who claims that the business was legitimate, recruited several people as leaders purportedly on behalf of a Bulgarian firm called One Life company that operates mobile wallets under the blockchain technology. These people would also recruit other people from the districts of Kampala, Masaka, Wakiso, Kabarole, Bushenyi, Ibanda, Kagadi, and others,” Twiine said.
He explains that these were tasked to also recruit more people who could be asked to buy virtual shares at Shs 1,000 per bitcoin with the promise of making profits.
“These people could pay like Shs 10 million with the promise of getting 6 per cent in a week’s time, so they would lure you to accumulate profits to at least Shs 800,000, then they pay, and you recruit others. After getting their target in billions, they closed the business and vanished,” he said.
Twiine explains that Mwangutsya who was reported to police in 2020 after closing the business and disappearing was arrested in Ibanda with plans of attempting to escape to Rwanda yesterday Sunday.
Police are now appealing to the victims of this alleged scam to come forward and give their testimonies to the CID headquarters that will help in the prosecution of Mwangutsya for obtaining money by false pretense.
Although police are going to prosecute the prime suspect, Twiine explains that it is not easy for the detectives to recover such huge sums of money that was defrauded two years back.
“It is inherently very hard to recover this money, which has been spent over about two years. Ugandans should know that the transactions of cryptocurrency in Uganda are not regulated by any institution or any legal framework, therefore in the event of fraud, it is hard to do litigation or recovery,” Twiine stated.
Adding that, “Ugandans need to know that some of this money that is illicit and illegitimate is sometimes associated with terrorism, so it will be unfortunate for you to give money to an agent of terrorism to come and destabilize your country."