Public Cautioned on Gold Scammers After Security Arrests Italian National

Part of the fake gold which the suspect, Franco Mirella was found in possession of.

Police has warned the public to be cautious of scammers dealing in fake gold, following the arrest of a foreign national said to have been involved in a gold scam.

Authorities are appealing to all prospective buyers in the gold industry, to purchase gold from authorized dealers, with valid trading licence to conduct business.

The warning follows a recent incident involving an Italian. The issue came to the attention of the Ugandan security after a complaint was lodged with Police on August 8, 2019 through an international call.

The call was made by Mirella Corona, a 91 year old, female adult. She said that her son Franco Mirella, who flew to Uganda from Hong Kong on August 2, had been kidnapped and tortured by suspected gold dealers.

Ugandan security later established that Franco Corona, first came to Uganda on March 9 this year to purposely transact in gold.

“He met with some Congolese dealers, who cheated and sold him fake gold nuggets. Upon realising that he had been duped, he returned to Hong Kong. After four months, he returned to Uganda on the 2/08/2019, booked accommodation at Ivory Castle Hotel, Muyenga till 4/08/ 2019, when he disappeared from the Hotel,” the Police spokesperson, CP Fred Enanga said in a statement.

On August 5, Franco went to First Jewelry shop, at Sheraton Hotel, with his samples which were evaluated and established as fake gold. He deposited his Italian passport number YB3010126, as security and retrieved it on the August 7 upon clearing the testing fees of USD 400.

He thereafter, left for Entebbe International Airport, where he was arrested for being in possession of undeclared gold. It was confiscated and exhibited, after it was established as fake gold, and the suspect released on bond, to report back on the August 12.

The task teams however traced him at Grand Imperial Hotel and handed him over to CID headquarters for further management.

It is then that the victim admitted that he had fabricated his story, and was never at risk.

“He is now fully cooperating with the task team, who are also investigating the suspects behind fake gold scams,” Enanga said.

Police says that the latest incident is testament that fraudsters still exist and that they use gold plated metal bars, nuggets or powder to dupe their victims, majorly foreigners.

“They show their prospective buyers samples of genuine gold which are positively evaluated before entering into a sale agreement. Buyers easily fall into a trap of making huge profits”.

Prospective buyers have also been advised to seek guidance from the Ministry of Trade And Industry, the Department of Mines and Geological Surveys, Uganda Investment Authority and the Police Minerals Enforcement Unit, before transacting in any minerals.

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