By John Ssemakula
A Ugandan has been charged with fleecing his foreign lover of sh200m.Umar Masinde, 28, was on Thursday charged with 10 counts of receiving money by false pretense from his American lover, Kaori Scherer.
Masinde, a resident of Kyaliwajala in Wakiso District, appeared before Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Marry Kayinza and denied the charges.
He was remanded to Luzira Prison until October 3, when his bail application will be heard.
Kaori wants to recover $65,000 from Masinde in addition to having him penalized for defrauding her, she told court. Kaori said she had the record of the money she had been sending Masinde from the first day they met.
Masinde becomes the second Ugandan recently to be charged with fleecing a foreign lover of huge sums of money.
Shanita Namuyimba alias Bad Black is serving a four year sentence at Luzira Prison stealing $9m raised by her British lover David Greenhalgh for a business she jointly run in Kampala with him.
Between April 2011 and 2012, Kaori says Masinde duped her into giving him money for a fake business. He also feigned sickness and death of his close relatives to get money from her, she added.
Court heard that Masinde used the money to purchase posh cars and live a lavish lifestyle in Kampala. He rented expensive apartments in the upscale suburbs of Kampala and a state-of-the art Jaguar.
Masinde was arrested last week after Kaori became suspicious and hired a private investigator who unearthed dirt on him, she said.
Masinde faces a five-year sentence for each count if convicted.
The Masinde, Kaori story
Masinde and Kaori reportedly first met in 2011 in Kharkov, Ukraine where they fell in love. Kaori says she was introduced to Masinde by a close friend.
But on the first day of their meeting, Masinde introduced himself as a prominent businessman who owned a cable company in Ukraine called IPCOM. According to Kaori, Masinde told her his family had financial problems and asked her for a $10,000 loan to sort out the matter.
“He wanted the money to pay the company’s expenses to the Ukrainian government. I agreed to lend him $10,000,” Kaori said.
After this, the two fell in love and in July, 2011, when Masinde was returning to Uganda, Kaori met him in Egypt for four days.
When Masinde reached Uganda, he started faking problems and asking the unsuspecting Kaori for money, the court heard.
How he got the money
Immediately Masinde reached Uganda, he wrote to Kaori that his father who had been suffering from cancer for long was on life support in Mulago. Kaori said Masinde asked for $1,000 for the hospital bills.
“I was told in the email that if the hospital was not paid, his father would be struck off the life support and left to die. I sent him the money. But later he told me that his father had passed on,” she said.
Exploits Bageya’s death
When George Patrick Bageya, the former Iganga LC5 chairman, died in a grisly road accident, Masinde reportedly wrote to Kaori announcing how he had lost his elderly ‘brother’.
He said Bageya, being a prominent politician in the country, many important people were likely to attend the burial and he needed money to organise the funeral that befitted his status.
In December, 2011, Masinde faked an ambush in which he was seriously injured by armed robbers. Kaori had invited him to the US for the Christmas holiday and that after selling the cows from the family’s farm; he was ambushed, badly beaten and robbed of $820.
He complained of kidney problems and kept on asking Kaori for money to pay the hospital bills. At one point, Kaori says Masinde claimed he was on the verge of death at a hospital in Kenya and kept pressing her for money for treatment. When Kaori delayed to send the money, Masinde’s friend, who was reportedly looking after him, informed her he was dead.
But after a few days, Masinde, sent Kaori a message, saying he had narrowly survived death.
Hires private investigator
On the basis of this, she said, she decided to get to the bottom of the matter. She approached Masinde’s friends and village mates, who helped her find out the truth.
She later hired a private investigator and, after concluding that she had been robbed, she opened a case against Masinde.