By David Omoding
Security operatives led by the Pallisa Deputy Residents District Commissioner, Magidu Dhikusooka have arrested a ring leader of a notorious criminal gang that has been conning residents of their hard earned cash.
The suspect, identified as Robert Okello, a resident of Okunguro village in Agule Sub County was arrested on Thursday 19th August 2021 at Limoto swamp while heading to Pallisa from Iganga.
According to the Deputy RDC, Okello had been tricked to travel to Pallisa to pick a balance of Shs100,000 from a victim he had earlier conned Shs1million.
Okello is said to have been working with a gang of unscrupulous persons using tactical ways conning and robbing people off their cash and property.
According to the RDC, during interrogation, Okello confessed that he has been coordinating such acts for the last five years in different parts of the country.
The suspect has been impersonating as a UPDF ‘captain’ well-connected to UPDF Generals and could dupe members of the public that he can recruit their children into the army.
‘’At first when I heard of this story I thought I was dealing with someone in the UPDF but he’s just a civilian and now I am directing the police to track all his contacts to make sure that all his accomplices are apprehended from wherever they are,” the Deputy RDC said.
Security had tricked him to come for more money and another batch of recruits willing to join the army and waylaid him at Limoto swamp on tirinyi- pallisa road.
He reportedly told security that he’s connected to a fande Okumu Paskali, based in Wakiso district in Kampala.
Ester Awujo, a victim of Okello’s fraudulent act who lost 1.1million shillings told security that she sold off the cow she received under OWC to raise money for her son to supposedly join UPDF.
‘’I was happy when I received a phone call from a person who identified himself as Sam Agolor a private teacher working in Mubende telling me to send my son to Iganga to be recruited into UPDF, I swiftly sold off the cow and sent the boy with 1 million with a promise to clear the balance, the boy left home reached Iganga and told me they had met the captain,’’ she narrated while sobbing.
She said after consultations, she realized that there was nothing like ongoing UPDF recruitment but she had already sent the child with money and a cock for to the captain for appreciation.
Aisu Bob, Aujo’s son told security that on the fateful evening when he reached Iganga, he was whisked to a lodge where he found the ‘captain’ in a drinking spree with women but afterwards entered in a room where his bag was kept and put on his jacket and disappeared.
Although President Museveni during his security address last week had discouraged keeping of suspects in cells beyond 48 hours, the RDC said this criminal will not be rushed to court as he directed police to expeditiously track all the contacts such that the racket of culprits is brought to book.
He cautioned members of the public to be vigilant saying government doesn’t charge money for any recruitment to join the forces.
John Butamanya, the OCIID Pallisa while confirming Okello’s arrest said police swung into action after getting information on Monday that he had taken children to Iganga and locked them in a lodge around Kasokosoko on top of obtaining money.
He said the suspect who has been on their top wanted list has been terrorizing residents in Busoga, Teso and Bukedi Sub Regions and many people had fallen victim.
Adding that Charges of obtaining money by false pretense, and kidnap may be preferred against him under SDR 25/17/8 2021 when he will be produced in court.