The Uganda Tourism Police and Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) have arrested Ahebwa Michael Mugerwa who is accused of defrauding tourists of at least 66.6 million shillings ($18,000).
Mugerwa was arrested in a joint operation headed by Commissioner of Police Frank Mwesigwa at Lubowa, along Entebbe road, this afternoon.
UTB head of quality assurance Samora Semakula said they decided to swing into action after the stranded tourists reached out to report the crime. The four tourists are currently stranded in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The tourists who come from the USA, Australia and the United Kingdom parted with $18,000 for 15 days tour and travel experience in Uganda. They had booked through Mugerwa’s Mushra Travelling Agency company located in Mengo, Kampala, opposite Sojovalo Hotel.
Each of the tourists parted with money in the range of $3,600 to $4,000 for what they believed would be a dream vacation in one of the world’s most naturally endowed countries famed for rare species of animals like gorillas and birds.
UTB’s Semakula says they have shut down Mushra company in the wake of the allegations. However, the tourism body found that Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) was also on the brink of closing the company for unpaid taxes.
The names of the tourists are yet to be released as police and UTB prepare a statement on the matter.
In custody, Mugerwa denied the charges that he had obtained money by false pretence. He said that his troubles stem from business rivalry and he has never cheated anyone.