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Fraudulent tour operator granted UGX80M bail, passport withheld

Mr Tusasibwe after the arrest. He has been granted bail. (PHOTO/File)

KABALE – Richard Tusasibwe, a tour operator who was recently arrested for fleecing tourists of USD 21,500 was on Wednesday, August 21, released on a non-cash bail of UGX 80 million.

He also handed in his passport to the court as a preventive measure.

He was released on Wednesday morning by the Kabale Chief Magistrate, Julius Borore.

Among other conditions on his bail, Tusasibwe will handover to court a land title registered in his names that is worth UGX 10 million.

Mr. Tusasibwe was arrested by tourism police on Monday, August 12, 2019, at Arcadia Cottages in Kabale; near Lake Bunyonyi; where he was in hiding.

Mr. Tusasibwe who owns Gatatu safaris limited is alleged to have been contracted by five American tourists to organize chimpanzee and gorilla tracking expedition in Uganda.

Mr Barore based his judgement on Tusasibwe’s lawyer, Justus Muhangi of Muhangi Justus & Partners Advocates August 14th bail application where he said that “his client is the only sole breadwinner of his family”.

He noted that Tusasibwe’s sureties including Gerard Naturinda 30, a businessman, John Byaruhanga 30, a night watchman and Innocent Atuheire 27, a farmer are all from Nyakibande Village, Mwendo parish, Kitumba Sub County, Kabale district.

The sureties proved to the court that they are substantial after they satisfactorily responded to questions that were asked to them.

The three sureties were all bonded at UGX 80 million non-cash while Tusasibwe was asked to deposit a photocopy of a land title registered in his names and his passport. His Worship then adjourned the case to  September 5, 2019, for further hearing.

Mr. Tusasibwe will return to court on September 5, 2019.

Despite Kigezi sub-region harbouring 60 percent of Uganda’s top tourist attractions, she also tops in most tourism-related crimes in the country.

In January this year, the tourism police in Kabale arrested Didan Atukunda of Mamba Gorilla Safaris for allegedly defrauding $27,000 from a Dutch tourist.

In October 2018, tourism police arrested Mugerwa Ahebwa for allegedly defrauding an American tourist Mendy Payne of over $18,000.

Herbert Byaruhanga, the president of the Uganda Tourism association in July this year while training tour managers from the Kigezi sub-region in Kabale warned that “the region has very many fake orphanages that target to fleece money from foreigners”.

He said companies own fake websites that are never updated and that this has tainted the name of the country and the tourism sector.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni while on a tour to Kigezi to promote the Operation Wealth Creation initiative at the end of July, ordered for the arrest of tour operators in the region who habitually con unsuspecting tourists and rob them of their money.

Mr. Museveni said that such tour operators whom he termed as “fake” should be arrested because they are enemies of the country.

“We need such fake characters arrested. They are mishandling their duties and causing the country to lose lots of income from the tourists who may not feel at ease with their security in the country” Museveni remarked.

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