Ugandan Held In U.S. Over Cheque Fraud

By Vision Reporter

ANOTHER Ugandan has been arrested in the US over cheque fraud and theft charges, reports Hellen Mukiibi.

ANOTHER Ugandan has been arrested in the US over cheque fraud and theft charges, reports Hellen Mukiibi. Patrick Ssempala, 48, was arrested on Tuesday in the Boston suburb of Wellesley where he had been living for the past year. He was by yesterday still detained in a Massachusetts jail in lieu of a $10,000 bond. The Deputy Police Chief, Mr Bill Brooks, was quoted by The Washington Times as saying Sempala faces forgery, check fraud and larceny charges. He was charged with forging a cheque made out to him for $22,000 that he deposited on his personal account at a branch office of the FleetBoston bank. The bank later discovered that the cheque had originally been written for $125 and issued to a business, police said. By that time, however, Ssempala had wired $17,000 to a bank account in Europe and spent the rest, police said. He was arrested as he returned to the bank branch. Ssempala is the second Ugandan to hit headlines over bank fraud in the US. In 1998, ex-Kampala mayor Nasser Sebaggala was arrested at JFK International Airport for bank fraud and transportation of forged cheques. He was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment. The accused is the estranged husband to Mrs. Edith Ssempala, Uganda’s ambassador to Washington. American press reported the US Police as saying Ssempala did not claim diplomatic immunity on arrest. He carried an expired diplomatic passport and identification card. Brooks said police contacted the State Department which said Mr. Ssempala did not have diplomatic immunity because his documents were expired. Ambassador Ssempala who returned to the US yesterday, confirmed her husband’s arrest, saying it was unfortunate. “Although we’re separated since five years ago, I felt sad that he is in such a situation. “I still cannot understand why he can do such a thing,” she told The New Vision hours before her flight from Entebbe to Washington. Mrs. Ssempala jetted in recently to attend investment workshops launched by the US Assistant Trade Representative for Africa, Rosa Whitaker. The ambassador said she neither knew of her husband’s dealings, nor his address, since they separated a few months after her 1996 posting to Washington. “Married in 1984, we, however, have not been able to live together. For a while now, I have been trying to seek divorce, but have been frustrated by the Uganda laws which allow divorce after proof of adultery or cruelty. A successful career diplomat for decades, Mrs. Ssempala said her husband’s case was not likely to affect her reputation. Ends

Ugandan Held In U.S. Over Cheque Fraud