Buganda Road chief magistrate’s court has sentenced Muhammad Kasule, a former Kampala mayoral aspirant in the NRM primaries to two years imprisonment for conning an American citizen of shs600 in a fake gold deal.
What was supposed to be an investment opportunity for Richard Richards, an American therapist who had desired to venture into gold business in Congo turned into a nightmare when he eventually ended up in Uganda and was conned.
On Friday, chief magistrate Mariam Ayo said that it was wrong for Kasule to defraud the American citizen of huge sums of money, a thing she said tarnished the country’s name.
“You betrayed the trust put in you by the investor while you engaged in international business. You ought to have portrayed a good image of the country but you didn’t,”Ayo said.
She however said she had considered the fact that Kasule is a family man, a first offender and is of productive age and sentenced him to two years imprisonment contrary to the provisions of the law that stipulate a five year imprisonment as the maximum sentence for the offence.
The magistrate however said that the convict must compensate the American victim to a tune of shs600 million that he had defrauded from him.
“There is no doubt the money came to your account and you withdrew it but the victim went back empty handed. You are required to refund the money,” the Buganda Road Chief Magistrate ruled.
Earlier during mitigation, the state prosecutor Jonathan Muwaganya asked court to give the convict a deterrent punishment that would serve as a warning to other people who are intending to participate in such crimes.
“It is a fact that offences including theft and obtaining money by false pretense are rampant in the country and there is need to give a deterrent sentence so as to curb the vice, “Muwaganya said.
He said that of late, such crimes of defrauding foreigners are common among Ugandans which he said has impacted greatly on the country’s image on the international scene.
“He is only 42 and still an able bodied man who could work to sustain his decent life. On top of jailing him , he should be ordered to refund the money to the victim.”
However, the convict said he is a first offender who should be given a lenient sentence because he has a family to look after.
“I am the sole bread winner of a family with seven children. I also have a school looking after orphans with HIV AIDS.I ask for a lenient sentence.”
“Having spent 9 months on remand and that period is enough for me to learn lessons.”
Court heard that Kasule who described himself as the Managing Director for Blue Diamond Corporation convinced the American investor that his company dealt in gold prompting him to send money to buy the gold that never was.