The Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Flavia Nabakooza has charged an American national, Ryan Andrew Gustafson with three fresh charges of unlawful possession of counterfeit currency notes and remanded him to Luzira prison
By Farooq Kasule
The Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Flavia Nabakooza has charged an American national, Ryan Andrew Gustafson with three fresh charges of unlawful possession of counterfeit currency notes and remanded him to Luzira prison.
Gustafson 27, an American engineer and resident of Namulonge in Wakiso district, had been released on bail by the then Buganda road chief magistrate Lillian Buchyana after he was charged with seventeen related counties pending his trial.
This means that Gustafson faces twenty counts of forgery and illegal entry and stay in the country.
However, lawyer David Wandera on Monday informed court that he has never gained freedom since his release because he was re-arrested by FBI officials and detained at the special investigations unit (SIU) in Kireka.
Wandera asked court to order prosecution to amend the charge sheet because he has two files handled by different magistrates with similar or related charges.
"If both files continue, it will be a double jeopardy for the court." Wandera said
In reply, prosecutor Lillian Omara said that the charges are different because in one of the file, Gustafson is accused of illegal entry and stay in the country and in illegal possession of ammunitions at his residence.
The matter was adjourned to November 2 for court to decide whether to amend the charge sheet or to maintain the status quo.
It is alleged that on September 28, 2015 in Kampala, Gustafson was found in possession of $10,000 (about sh27m then) counterfeit currency.
Prosecution further alleges that on December 11, 2014 at his residence in Mbalwa and at Speke Hotel in Kampala, Gustafson conspired with a Ugandan native, Christopher Kojo, to sell US$10,000 counterfeit money to a one Cedric Namakoola.
The duo last year was charged with unlawful possession of counterfeit currency notes contrary to clause 357 of the Penal Code Act.
They were also charged with being in possession of forged currency; unlawful possession of ammunition, selling articles bearing designs with imitations of currency notes, illegal entry and conspiracy to commit the said offences, all of which they denied.
Gustafson is separately charged with another offence of illegal entry into Uganda. The second matter was adjourned to October 28 for mention.
Gustafson and his associate were arrested by police following a transaction in which Stanbic bank lost over US$300, 000 in a fake dollar exchange.
Upon arrest Gustafson was found with counterfeit $100, $50, and $20 denominations. Police also recovered seven money printing machines from his house, live ammunition, three pairs of U.S army uniforms with the inscription Ryan Andrew and a U.S army bag.
Federal authorities traced Gustafson when he used a Pittsburgh contact that was already known to local authorities and left his fingerprint on a document despite regularly using molds to avoid detection.
Federal officials released details last year which led to his arrest.
Gustafson, who previously lived in Texas and Colorado, was arrested in Uganda December 11, detained at Kireka police investigations unit for interrogations.
Recently, the US Attorney David Hickton and Eric Zahren, special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh office of the Secret Service, said the scheme to produce bogus $20, $50 and $100 bills has been ongoing in Africa and Europe since 2007.
Thorough investigations included use of confidential informants, complex facial recognition technology and sending a prosecutor to Uganda to build a case against him.
Investigations against him began last year when a man used a fake $100 bill to buy coffee at Peet's Coffee in Oakland on December 26. It was detected by a bank employee when the shop deposited its receipts at the end of the day.
American national faces new charges