Crime & InvestigationSpecial Reports

Briefing: Lawyer Wanyoto Exposes South Korean Gold Smuggling Ring

A lawyer named Paul M. Wanyoto has revealed how three South Koreans almost landed him in an extensive fraud deal involving smuggling gold to Hongkong, an autonomous territory found in southeastern China.

The scheme started when the three Koreans — Ha Dong Sua, Park Seunghoon and Jang Seungkwon – approached Wanyoto to start a firm, which they named Mckinley Resource Company Ltd, with a plan of dealing in minerals.

After giving a name to their company, according to Wanyoto, they began the procedures of legitimizing their business.

An account was opened in Diamond Trust Bank on Wednesday last week, and subsequently a process was initiated to begin “mobilizing money” for, Wanyoto said, “Office opening, vehicle buying, house rent, acquiring mineral dealers’ license and the work permits of the Koreans etc.”

480,000 U.S. dollars (about Shs1.7bn) was finally secured by the Koreans from their country.

When the bank notified them about the arrival of the money, Wanyoto says, they went to the bank, withdrew USD460000 (Shs1.6bn) and “we went with it to my office.”

Change of mind

On receiving the cash from the bank, the Koreans diverted from pursuing the original goal of legalizing their trade and decided to make other moves.

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According to Paul Wanyoto’s statement to ChimpReports, “[the Koreans] refused to pay for license, refused to pay for work permits, etc. and chose to deal with [a] Congolese called Maraka Carlos.”

Carlos Maraka, Wanyoto would later learn, “had been arrested in Afghanistan on suspicion of terrorism.”

With Maraka, the lawyer said, the Koreans had plotted to use the United Nations Base in Entebbe to go to the Democratic Republic of Congo and smuggle gold into Entebbe and thereafter transport it to Hong Kong.

This would lead to evasion of taxation.

Wanyoto says he was not involved in that part of the scheme, and he advised his partners to return the money to the bank.

“At 7pm, I personally went to the Bank and deposited 400,000USD leaving them with cash of 60,000USD at Oasis Mall (in Kamwokya, Kampala). Bank records can reflect this,” he wrote in his statement.

HA DONGSUB

On their first meeting, the Koreans had not agreed with Maraka on the transaction terms so as Wanyoto went to the bank, his statement shows, “they (Koreans) left for Munyonyo (a Kampala surburb) to go and meet the said Maraka and many others.”

Arrest and Home Raid

On Thursday at about 11am as Paul Wanyoto went by his business, he received a call from the Koreans, requesting a meeting, but he told them he was busy so he couldn’t immediately be available.

It was at midday that the three fellows were arrested, after which he received a “confidential” call from one of the Koreans, telling him that “our money in the Bank is not safe because it could be blocked …so I should withdraw and hide.”

“I went to the Bank immediately and withdraw 415000USD and hid it,” adding that — after that, he began chasing their police bond, which failed on that day, but succeed the next day,

They were detained at Katwe Police Station on February 8 and released on February 9.

During the process of securing a bond, the Koreans had requested that Wanyoto gets them air tickets to Dubai, so they flee on getting out of jail.

And on release from detention, they requested for the whole cash, telling Wanyoto that they had made “friends at Police who they needed to give some money.”

All the above was done; the Koreans managed to get a police escort to Entebbe, leaving Wanyoto behind and there was no further communication since their phones had been confiscated, at least, according to Wanyoto’s understanding.

It was on Saturday at 4am that the lawyer’s home was raided by over 20 police officers, who conducted a search, but he was not at home.

But to his surprise, he says, he later found out the Koreans and some other police officers were claiming that he had connived with Police to steal money.

This prompted Paul Wanyoto to call the director of Criminal Investigations Department in Kibuli, seeking security before meeting the Koreans “because storming my home at 4am is really not civil.”

“For the record, I am not a lawyer for these Koreans. I am their co share holder and business partner. It turns out they want to backflip and cheat me,” Wanyoto’s statement concludes.

RPC Bakaleke

When reports about this incident started spreading, information emerged that ACP Siraje Bakaleke, the Regional Police Commander Kampala Metropolitan South (KMP) South had been arrested in connection to it.

But, according to a statement issued by Police Spokesmam Emilian Kayima, the reports are not true.

“Dear fourth estate. Please discard the rumor of the alleged arrest and detention of ACP Bakaleke, Regional Police Commander KMP South by PSU. It’s false and amounts to fake news. The officer is at his place of work going about his duties in the region,” he said.

Speaking on the same, Paul Wanyoto said, “They are running these series to create a media buzz and finish Bakaleke off and by extension me.”

 

 

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