Complaints by a group of 19 Ugandans towards Henry Nkeera, one of the directors of Nagoya Company Limited also known as Steel Logistics Limited has opened a can of worms of hundreds of many other complaints against the same person.
Over the weekend, complainants told journalists that having placed online orders for vehicles either fully or partial through the Tokyo based Be Forward website, they were asked to make payments and get invoices from Nagoya Company Limited/ Steel Logistics Limited, one of the agents for the Japanese car exporter.
These had paid between shs50 million and shs100 million as either partial or full payment for delivery of vehicles from Japan but the same never came to pass.
When days and later months passed, the clients who had placed orders but their vehicles were not being delivered asked for explanations from Steel Logistics but there was no satisfactory answer.
This prompted them to report the matter to police that arrested Caroline Nampeera, the Managing Director of Steel Logistics and Annet Nagawa, an accountant as investigations into a case of obtaining money by false pretence kicked off.
However, Henry Nkeera and another director are currently on the run.
According to Katsuva Paluku Germain, a Congolese national, as early as 2020, he sought to purchase vehicles and consequently contacted SBT Company Limited, a Japanese car export company through website, www.sbtjapan.com .
He was later directed to contact RTS Autoview Limited, the Japanese company’s agents in Uganda for further negotiations and payments for the vehicles and consequently went to Conrad Plaza where he met one Ronald Muhindo, the operations director of the company.
Katsuva consequently paid $13200 for a Fuso long chassis and $15000 for a tipper truck.
However, despite paying the money, the vehicles were never delivered as the importer kept on promising to deliver but all in vain.
Later, after meeting with Muhindo,RTS Autoview Limited refunded $3000 to the Congolese national, with the promise of paying the remaining balance of $25200.
On failure to pay the balance, the company was dragged to court by the Congolese national and for fear of paying damages, SBT Company Limited, RTS Autoview Limited and Ronald Muhindo who had been listed as defendants entered into a consent settlement to pay the money owed.
However, despite entering a consent agreement to pay, the company refused to honour the same.
After failure to honour the agreement to settle the debt, the Congolese national sought to process execution of the consent settlement by way of a garnishee.
A garnishee is a third party who is instructed by way of legal notice to surrender money to settle a debt or claim.
However, when Katsuva tried to force the company pay him, he found out that the bank accounts for SBT Company Limited in Standard Chartered Bank and Equity Bank had been closed as soon as the court case against the car importer started.
This was yet another red flag.
Consequently, SBT Company Limited, and RTS Autoview Limited changed and started using an account of Steel Logistics Limited and it is on this account that all customers of the Japanese car importer were depositing money.
In a bid to dig out more, the Congolese national used a friend who disguised as a customer and placed an order on RTS Autoview Limited to have a vehicle imported for him and requested for the company’s account details.
When the friend, identified as Edison Mumbere contacted the company, he was linked to another sales agent with whom they chatted on whats app and was given account details of the dealer in Japan.
However, when Mumbere insisted on details of the accounts for RTS Autoview Limited in Uganda, the account for Steel Logistics Limited and this further confirmed that after closing the accounts for RTS Autoview Limited, the company was using another account.
The Congolese national later learnt that the account for Steel Logistics Limited was used to avoid creditors of RTS Autoview Limited from attaching money in case directors of the company are implicated into fraudulent acts.
Investigations indicate that Steel Logistics shares offices with Henry Nkeera, the same post box number and the same company secretary.
Whereas Steel Logistics Limited was registered on October, 27, 2016, it has up to date never filed annual returns.
A search at the company registry also indicates that Steel Logistics Limited and RTS Autoview Limited are related companies and share the same company secretary.
The anguishes of the Congolese national are equally shared by many other Ugandans who have fallen prey of the well calculated scheme to defraud them of their hard earned money under the guise of helping them import vehicles into the country.
According to Richard Mwebesa, a managing partner at Mwebesa Richard Advocates and Solicitors who are representing the Congolese national, whereas reports indicate that Henry Nkeera, the man behind the fraud has fled the country, his client believes the key suspect is still in the country but hiding himself.
On Monday, six agents for Japanese car importing company, Be Forward seemed to be distancing themselves from the actions of Steel Logistics Limited owned by Nkeera.
In a statement to journalists, the six said Be Forward is still represented in Uganda by them.
Shs1.5bn lost by clients
According to Kampala Metropolitan Deputy police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire so far, complaints worth shs1.5 billion have been logged.
“The cases have kept on pilling up since the first complainants came out in the media. So far, there are 20 cases totaling to shs1.5 billion but the cases keep on pilling up. The case file has been sanctioned,” Owoyesigyire told the Nile Post.