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Family of Ugandan arrested in US appeals to authorities

By Chris Kiwawulo

Added 17th May 2017 04:15 PM

Ali Kakande was living with his wife and two children in California prior to his arrest

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Ali Kakande (pictured) was arrested at the beginning of April.

The family of Ali Kakande, one of the two Ugandans arrested in the US over alleged insurance fraud, has appealed to US authorities to pardon their son, saying he was a victim of intrigue.

Kakande’s relatives led by his father, Mzee Charles Kakande, argued that Ali’s predicament resulted from the help he (Ali) extended to a friend, Sulaiman Lutale, whom they suspect could be the actual suspect in the insurance scam.

Ali was arrested with Lutale at the beginning of April over insurance fraud amounting to over $300,000 (over sh1b). A statement from the California Department of Insurance (CDI) dated April 6, said the two face multiple counts.

According to Ali’s father (Mzee Kakande), his son fell a victim of circumstances after he allowed his friend (Lutale) to use his account to deposit his earnings.

“It is true my son (Ali) was working with Lutale as an insurance agent, but he told me he had quit that business way back in 2012 because it was no longer profitable.

He was into other things. In fact, by the time he was arrested, he was not doing well financially and his siblings had just sent him some money for upkeep. If he had stolen all that money, why would he need support?” Mzee Kakande wondered.

Sheila Nakanjako, Ali’s cousin said when she talked to her cousin (Ali) while in prison in the US, he told her that Lutale had betrayed him. 

 

“Ali told me that he did not know that Lutale was involved in insurance fraud. That he had long stopped acting as an insurance broker. That he was surprised when Lutale led the police to him as an accomplice,” Nakanjako quoted Ali as saying.

Ali, who went to the US around 2007, had secured an American green card and he was living with his wife and their two children in California, before he got arrested.

Ali is currently on remand at Orange County Central jail pending the hearing of his bail application. Authorities set his bail at $470,000 (about sh1.7b), but relatives said his lawyers informed them that the amount set could be waived if Ali presents substantial sureties with properties in the US.

Before he went to the US, Ali studied at Buddo Junior for his primary and at St. Lawrence Citizens High School for his secondary education.

Mzee Kakande urged US authorities to thoroughly investigate the circumstances that led to Ali’s arrest, arguing that his son could have been set up because he had had misunderstandings with family friends.

“We have had family friends who we have helped both in Uganda and the US, but they have chosen to pay us by hurting us. As of today, unknown people dropped leaflets threatening us at our home in Mutundwe (Rubaga division, Kampala), and we suspect the same people are involved in framing my son. They claimed that they are done with Ali and we are next,” Mzee Kakande observed.

The old man said the leaflets contained messages threatening to harm him and his family members, adding that this has caused some of his children to run away from home. “I suspect these could be the same people who are after my son in America.”

Suspected criminals have been dropping leaflets containing threatening messages in people’s homes in Kampala, Wakiso and Greater Masaka, and Police is hunting for the culprits behind these actions.

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