Lawyer Paul Wanyoto wanted over role in $400,000 extortion

Lawyer Paul Wanyoto wanted over role in $400,000 extortion
City lawyer Paul Wanyoto

The Flying Squad is searching for city lawyer Paul Wanyoto suspected of planning the extortion of Shs 1.4 billion ($400,000) from two South Korean nationals who wanted to buy gold in Uganda.

The two South Koreans, Park Seunghoon and Jang Shingu Un were looking for gold amounting to about $1.5 million. However, they were arrested from Acacia Mall in Kampala; where they were due to meet their lawyer Wanyoto of Web, Advocates & Solicitors.

It is now alleged that Wanyoto, tipped off the police officers at Kampala Metropolitan South region about the transaction leading to the deployment sanctioned by Kampala Metropolitan South Regional commander Siraj Bakaleke.

The Koreans were later arrested and detained at Katwe police station. However, there is no record of their detention on file. A source who preferred anonymity says they were kept in the office of the officer-in-charge of the station for the two days.

It has been reported that police officers then bought two air tickets with Emirates and planned to repatriate the two dealers to South Korea using some of the extorted money. But they missed the flight, creating confusion among the plotters of the deportation.

The police officers reportedly bought other tickets with Rwanda Air but were netted before the arrested South Koreans boarded the plane.

Four Police officers, who had escorted the duo, were arrested on site and now detained at Nalufenya. They include; Isaac Munezero the officer-in-charge Crime Intelligence Katwe police station, George Kayongo, Kenneth Zirintuusa and Patrick Ochen.

Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) spokesperson Vincent Ssekate confirmed the ongoing search for the lawyer who has been implicated by all the police officers interrogated.

“We have a case filed against him and we are looking for him,” Ssekate said.

Wanyoto a few days ago met the inspector general of police Kale Kayihura through a meeting organised by the presidential press secretary Don Wanyama over the pending arrest.

A source privy to the information said that when Kayihura later inquired about what the case was about, he was briefed and gave a go-ahead for the lawyer to be arrested and interrogated.

Wanyoto maintains in a statement that he is innocent and was only dragged into the deal by the Koreans who wanted to legitimise their fraud.

According to Wanyoto the Koreans wanted to use the UN base at Entebbe to smuggle gold out of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

He says contrary to the other version of the story being fronted in the media, the Koreans actually wanted to sneak out of the country and even managed to acquire a police escort truck to Entebbe airport after being released from Katwe police station.