KAMPALA: In September last year, conmen disguising as Ministry of Defence procurement team invited officials of the Irish BMP Poland SP Z.o.o for meeting in Bombo, the headquarters of Land Forces.
The organisers some of them dressed in military uniform assured top managers of the polish company that government was planning to procure a big cache of weapons in a deal worth Euros 71 million.
After the meeting, the polish came out of the meeting contended knowing they would get the deal and were to pay Euros 7,000 for bidding documents.
The lead negotiator, who said was using his company Prima Investments Uganda, Sam Ssimbwa later assured the polish that he was going to negotiate for them to get the deal.
BMP Poland SP Z.o.o later gave powers of Attorney to Prima to negotiate the deal. Ssimbwa later went to Equity bank and secured a bank guarantee. BMP later wired over Euros 100,000 to Prima bank account in Equity Bank to cover bond security for the deal.
“We have tried to recover the amount of security bond from Equity but the money remaining on Prima bank account is not enough. The money was withdrawn,” says Celer Marek, the Chief Executive Officer of BMP Poland SP .Z.o.o
More money was wired to Prima Investments Uganda’s account through Equity bank as consultancy fee. However, after receiving the money, the conmen switched off their phones and were not replying messages from BMP Poland SP. Z.o.o.
Later one of the suspects was arrested and he accused Chief of Staff Land Forces Brig Leopold Kyanda of being the mastermind of the quack deal.
It’s said that Mr Ssimbwa who drives expensive Range Rover in town was released by one Mark Ondong from Kireka Special Investigations Unit (SIU) on the orders of Brig Kyanda.
However, Brig. Kyanda through Army Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda told the media that he is not knowledgeable about Ssimba and Prima Investment.
It’s not clear what the army leadership will do. But this is a dent on the image of the army which had been praised for fighting terrorism in the region.