Development Channel Boss Faces Arrest, In Hiding

Development Channel Boss Faces Arrest, In Hiding

By Spy Uganda

Kampala: Court has issued an arrest warrant for Charles Lambert Nwabuikwu,44, the proprietor of Development Channel, a crypto-currency  dealership in Kampala.

Nwabuikwu faces arrest for skipping court Twice, yet he was granted bail by the same court a few months back. The arrest warrant was issued by Chief Magistrate Susan Kanyange after prosecution requested so. This follows after Nwabuikwu, a Briton of Nigerian decent and his wife, Caroline Waithera Waweru, 30, a Kenyan national, being charged with giving false or misleading information to people last year, which  resulted into  their victims losing millions of shillings. When Nwabuikwu was released on bail early this year, he requested court to allow him negotiate with the complainants, who he had allegedly defrauded, something he has never done to date. Over the weekend, his lawyer, Moses Mugabe, said efforts of settlement had been frustrated by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Nwabuikwu and his wife are battling charges of giving false or misleading information under Section 84 (b) and 89 (1) of the Capital Markets Act Cap 84, which attracts a fine not exceeding Shs12m or imprisonment not exceeding five years or both, although they denied the charges. In another case before the Commercial Court, Mugabe and Ramathan Waiswa, the lawyers for the complainants, had agreed to settle the matter out of court. According to the charge sheet, the accused are directors of Development Conglomerate Limited and residents of Luzira in Kampala with the company’s office at Itiri House on Port Bell Road, Luzira. Prosecution led by Annet Namatovu alleges that the accused, between October 2017 and November 2018, in various parts of Uganda, disseminated misleading information to induce members of the public to buy shares in Development Channel, knowing or having reason to believe that such information was false. The Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) under the finance ministry had written to the state minister for investment, Evelyn Anite, about the illegal operations of Development Channel.

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In a letter dated September 26, 2018, FIA noted that they had received information through a programme dubbed Uganda Poverty Alleviation, which was collecting money from the public while promising them shares in an online company. By floating shares, the company promised to pay those who bought the dividends of the shares that would enrich them. At that time, FIA established that the company could not sell shares to the public without the requisite regulatory authorisation. On March 7, 2018, FIA received a letter from Capital Markets Authority informing them of the suspected illegal sale of shares to the public by Development Channel and requesting the Police to investigate the matter further. FIA monitored the transactions and gathered additional intelligence which showed that the company was receiving big deposits into their mobile money accounts. The document also disclosed that the company had opened two business bank accounts — 0080045603 for Uganda shillings and 0080045611 for US dollars in Tropical Bank. These accounts had three signatories; Lambert, Lawrence Anugwalu and Waweru. A review of the transaction on the Uganda shillings bank account number 0080045603 indicated a high turnover for the newly opened account. “Between February and June 2018, total credit turnover amounted to sh723, 510,031, mainly consisting of cash deposits amounting to sh693,050,00,” the document read.

Conned Victims Spill Beans

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Nwabuikwu and his wife enjoyed the millions of shillings until some of their fraud victims woke up and realised they had been cheated, so they started demanding for their money. Diana Abang, a former employee of the company and resident of Bukoto, said she joined the company in April 2018 as a team leader. This was after she had convinced 10 people, especially members of her family and relatives to join but was not paid until she left. Sixty-year-old Badru Mpiima said on February 21, 2018, he bought five shares for his two children at sh1.7m and he was promised USD100 (about sh370, 000) per month and one tablet (phone), which he did not get. There are so many other victims who fell prey to Nwabuikwu and his wife’s trickery although despite their demands to him to refund their money, he keep playing hide and seek games. He has even reached an extent of skipping court, hence the arrest warrant.

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