Businessman Remanded for Impersonating Balaam

The Standard, Utilities, and Wildlife Court in Kampala has remanded businessman Andrew Mark Asiimwe to Luzira prison for alleged impersonation and attempted electronic fraud.

Asiimwe, a resident of Bwera-Mpondwe, Kasese district appeared before Grade One Magistrate, Sanura Nambozo Tuesday.

According to the court records, between January 2023 and July 2023 in Kampala and Kasese districts, Asiimwe falsely represented himself as Balaam Barugahara Ateenyi and attempted to defraud John Twinomugisha.

He solicited money for the nonexistent MK Girl Child project, claiming it was associated with the MK Movement, a pressure group supporting Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s potential presidency.

The court also heard that Asiimwe attempted to solicit 49,000 pounds from Twinomugisha through electronic communication.

Initially, Asiimwe denied the charges but later pleaded guilty after the charges were read to him afresh. He raised his arm, requesting forgiveness from Barugahara, citing financial difficulties as the reason for his criminal activities.

Asiimwe asked Barugahara to help him find a job and improve his welfare, promising to leave his life of crime. Barugahara informed the court that Asiimwe had previously created fake accounts impersonating musicians and politicians. Asiimwe has been remanded until July 25th, 2023, while the prosecution prepares to present brief facts before his conviction.

According to Barugahara, Asiimwe used a fake Facebook account to defraud the public by offering fake job opportunities in Canada and Germany, demanding registration fees, Interpol charges, and visa fees.

He also claimed to have connections with senior officials in the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), Special Forces Command (SFC), and the government for recruitment purposes.

Victims who fell for Asiimwe’s scams include individuals like Onegowun Eric, who sought a job in Internal Security Organization (ISO) or State House.

Asiimwe referred him to someone named Major Asiimwe on telephone number 0704653456, who requested payment for training and deployment.

“For example, in one of the chats, one Onegowun Eric from Nebbi in West Nile reached him via inbox on Facebook and told him he is a graduate who wanted a job in Internal Security Organization (ISO) or State House. The imposter, as seen in many conversations, referred him to Major Asiimwe who told him to pay Shs76,000,” said Barugahara.

He adds that the victim would then be asked to also pay some airtime to a person he called Colonel Charles Oluka such that he trains for two weeks and gets deployed to start work.

“The victim was later told to pay another Shs100,000 and then come to Kampala to start training. In the chat, he says he came but couldn’t locate the people he paid money to until when he gave up and returned home in Nebbi district, cursing ‘Balaam Barugahara Ateenyi’ for the fraud,” said Balaam Barugahara.

Another victim, Alex Isse, paid Asiimwe for yellow books and visa charges, hoping to secure jobs for his sisters in Canada, but received fake visas instead.

Several others, such as Rich Atwooki, Ekyatuhaire Rebecca, and John Francis Twinomugisha, also fell victim to Asiimwe’s fraudulent activities.

The other victims include Rich Atwooki, Ekyatuhaire Rebecca, John Francis Twinomugisha, Ayebare John Ndema, Brundon Emmanuel, David Dav, Ronald Tana, Luweesi Samuel, Cherotwo Aziz, Bukenya Fred, Ade Kyla Adela, Wandera Joseph, Fred Mutaasa, Wanume George, Stephen Nguhirwa, Nasimbwa Olivia, Ajuna Judith, Kirega Kilovis, Yu Michael and dozens of others.

Security records show that Asiimwe was arrested in June of the previous year for opening a Facebook account in the name of Gen Salim Saleh, the coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), and defrauding people in a similar manner.

Asiimwe confessed to being motivated to commit these crimes after falling victim to a fraud scheme in December 2020, where he was allegedly scammed out of 200,000 shillings by someone claiming to be Gen Salim Saleh’s personal assistant.

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