Police in Kasese has intercepted consignments of gold suspected to have been smuggled into Uganda from Democratic Republic of Congo.
The gold which was identified by Police detectives estimated to be 700kgs was packaged in five metallic boxes [three red and two brown] and hid in a Toyota Prado TX vehicle with Uganda registration number plates UAX 222Y green in colour.
As the incident happened on Thursday evening, it was hard for the journalists to take pictures during the arrest but our reporter stealthily took one using his phone without being noticed by the operatives.
The driver of the vehicle who was identified as Emmanuel Likambo was arrested and taken to a yet to be identified place.
According to the information gathered at the scene, Likambo who instantly pretended to be dumb is known for smuggling minerals from the DRC to Uganda [the precious mineral nowadays sells like a hot cake].
Police at the scene was hesitant to comment on the matter saying it is very sensitive until investigations are done.
Efforts to reach the Police PRO, Fred Enanga, were futile as he continuously failed to pick the calls on the known official contact.
Recently, a team of investigators from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) entered Uganda after receiving reports that their stolen gold ends up in the East African countries.
According to the information this reporter landed on, the mean-looking
investigators penetrated Uganda following reports that prominent people steal gold worth millions of dollars and sell it in East African countries.
According to Jean Kofi Makunhe, the man who led the team of Congolese investigators, their minerals have been stolen from DRC ranging from Gold and Timber and have ended up in Uganda and Kenya.
“We shall not rest until our minerals are recovered. We have lost a lot of minerals to our neighbouring countries but now have come up to join the struggle and search for this rich mineral. It’s not only Lwasa but several others will be unearthed,” said Makunhe.
Makunhe said that early this year, several East African businessmen have been trading in Gold from DRC but this time round, smuggled the same precious mineral to overseas markets through Uganda.
In February, some 2.5 tons of Gold with an estimated value of Shs8bn was stolen from Eastern Congo.
DRC officials believed those who stole it brought it to Uganda and Kenya and requested local authorities to arrest the culprits, intercept the gold and return it to Kinshasa.
The DRC officials have opened a case at Kibuli CIID headquarters vide GEF/389/2014.
The officers handling the case at Kibuli CIID were obstinate to comment on the case saying that it is still premature adding that any comment on the same would compromise investigations.
Kabila confronts Kenyatta
Recently, President Joseph Kabila, confronted his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, with information that gold stolen from his country was being kept in a warehouse in Nairobi city.
He said added that it’s more less the same in Uganda since they have already identified one person in Uganda dealing in their precious mineral.
Sources said President Kabila had the exact location of where the minerals were kept and the persons involved and demanded that police visit it to verify the reports.
His concern was that whenever the gold was stolen and sold through Kenya, what went back to DRC were weapons to destabilize his country.
After Kabila’s allegations, a team of detectives was hurriedly assembled and dispatched to the said site.
In the company of the local team was one of Kabila’s men to ensure the mission was accomplished.
But the detectives only found an empty warehouse in Embakasi.
President Kabila was in Nairobi for talks with President Kenyatta over a gold smuggling syndicate involving the two countries.
Kenya’s police top brass was summoned to give an update of their ongoing investigations on the matter.
Investigators say the precious metal is stolen from DRC and smuggled to overseas markets through Kenya.
Already, the mineral-rich DRC has requested Interpol to track suspected smugglers and seize any consignments on transit in Kenya.
In the latest incident, some 2.5 tons of the mineral, with an estimated value of $113 million, was stolen from Eastern Congo last month.
It is suspected that the consignment was headed for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The DRC officials requested Kenyan authorities to arrest the culprits, intercept the haul and surrender it to Kinshasa.