Police are holding one of the directors of Dunamiscoin Resources Limited, a cryptocurrency company for allegedly cheating thousands of Ugandans in a cryptocurrency scam.
Mr. Samson Lwanga was arrested last week and is due to appear in court this week.
Mr. Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, said Lwanga was arrested last Thursday.
“We have already opened a general inquiry file and investigations are going on. We recorded statements from the complainants and arrested one of the directors called Samson Lwanga who is currently detained at Old Kampala Police Station,” Mr Onyango said.
“According to him (Lwanga), they are willing to refund the money, but the problem is that Financial Intelligence Authority froze their accounts. And they cannot access or withdraw any money. We are going to get in touch with Financial Intelligence Authority to prove if what Lwanga is telling us is true on freezing the accounts,” he added.
Lwanga also said that most of the victims deposited between Shs1 and Shs10m every month.
One of the victims says she had lured many people to join the scheme. She said her aunt collapsed upon being informed that they had been scammed.
Mr. Arthur Mpeirwe, from Mpeirwe and Company Advocates, one of the victims’ lawyer, said that he contacted a Bank of Uganda official, who confirmed that Dunamiscoin operated three accounts in Centenary Bank, GT Bank, and Stanbic Bank. The Dunamiscoin website also confirms the company held accounts in the three banks.
The website also indicates that Dunamiscons is private limited company incorporated in Uganda whose registration number is 8002000148167.
He also said that the company had an account in Centenary Bank that held Shs10b on the account and has since been blocked.
Meanwhile, it is yet to be confirmed how much money is being held in other two bank accounts which have all been blocked.
A statement from the company website reads: “Enjoy the boom in the cryptocurrency market, earn an amazing 30 per cent in 21 working days as returns on your partnership with us. A special offer of 40 per cent for 2 million shillings and above.”
On October 5, the Ministry of Finance issued a statement warning the public about cryptocurrencies.
“The government of Uganda does not recognise any cryptocurrency as legal tender in Uganda. The general public is further advised of the following risks associated with crypto-currencies; Most crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are not backed by assets or government guarantees, therefore holders of these cryptocurrencies are fully exposed to the risk of loss or diminishing value as the issuers are not obliged to exchange them for legal currency or other value.
The nature of cryptocurrencies make them attractive for use in criminal transactions such as money laundering, sale of prohibited goods and services, and fraudulent venture such as Ponzi and pyramid schemes,” the statement read in part.
The Bank of Uganda also issued a statement in 2017 warning Ugandans about cryptocurrency scams.
“Bank of Uganda warns the general public that whoever wishes to invest their hard earned savings in Cryptocurrency forms such as One-coin, Bitcoin, Ripple, Peercoin, Namecoin, Dogecoin,” the statement reads in part.