Tour Operator Remanded For Defrauding American

1589 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Mugerwa isnt the first person to be arrested in such a scenario in this year.On Saturday, Didan Atukunda from Mamba Gorilla Safari was arrested from Kabale by the Tourism Police Regional Commandant of Kigezi region, Emmanuel Tinka for declining to refund an illegal payment to a client.

Nakawa Magistrates Court has remanded Michael Ahabwe Mugerwa, the managing Director of Mushra Tourism Agency to Luzira Prison for obtaining money by false pretense from an American tourist, Wendy Payne. 

It is alleged that  Mugerwa obtained USD 17,949 (about 74 million shillings) from Payne which was meant to cater for a two day family trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park,in October, 2018
 
Wendy is said to have given Mugerwa the money to arrange that the family travels by air to Queen Elizabeth, but surprisingly he reportedly hired a car which took them by road. The suspect allegedly later abandoned the tourists in the middle of the park when they had reached Queen Elizabeth.   

Mugerwa who appeared in court on Monday afternoon pleaded not guilty to the charges read against him. 

He asked court presided by Grade one Magistrate Fiona Angura to be released on bail citing that he has spent nine days in Police Cells before being produced in court. Mugerwa also argued that he is a family man who has got responsibility of looking after his school going children and also take care of his ailing mother. 

He presented three sureties who had local council letters and national identification cards. The three include; his wife Halima Nagawa, resident of Lubowa, Badru Bigirwa a resident of Bukoto and Ainamani Mirian Mugerwa a resident Mutungo. 

However, the State Prosecutor Justine Nakawuzi said that the value of the subject matter before court is high and thus the matter needed to be exercised with due diligence. Nakawuzi thus asked for a day to look through the local council letters presented by the sureties. 

Trouble for the accused person started when the tourist alerted Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) of about she had been defrauded and abandoned by Mugerwa of  Mushra  Tourist Company.

Mugerwa was later arrested by the Tourism Police detectives.The Spokesperson of UTB Sandra Natukunda has told URN that such activities continue affecting the tourism sector and thus said that they will continue prosecuting whoever engages him/herself in activities of defrauding tourists.

//Cue in: 'Tourism itself grows… Cue out: …  protect the sector".//

The suspect will return to court on February 11th.