Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Prisons Service-UPS has warned the public against fraudster schemes that their farms are selling commercial maize. UPS spokesperson, Commissioner of Prisons Frank Baine, said several people have been calling the headquarters claiming they have paid for commercial maize from their farms.
Baine said many people have already fallen for the tricks of con-artists and paid for tons of maize allegedly available in various prisons farms yet they do not have any commercial maize. UPS explains that maize grown in their farms is purposely to feed inmates.
“UPS has not reached the level of selling maize, it is only the staff who have gardens and they sell maize on their own,” Baine said. “UPS only sells maize seeds. We are receiving calls that people have gone to load maize. It is not true that our farms have commercial maize.”
UPS explains that even the maize seeds are sold at only six outlets which include Luzira Murchison Bay, Lira Prison, Gulu Prison, Masindi Prison and Jinja Prison. At all these centres, one can access three maize varieties that include UH 5353 hybrids also known as maroon, UH 5051 and open pollination variety L5D.
The prisons’ leadership has since alerted police to hunt for the fraudsters who have duped people that there is commercial maize on sale. This is not the first time people have been cheated millions with claims of maize, beans and groundnuts on sale in prison farms.
In 2020, the Criminal Investigations Directorate-CID arrested a man for masquerading as an official from Isimba prisons farm in Masindi district and conning nine people of more than 100 million Shillings.
Detective Assistant Superintendent of Police –D/ASP Charles Twine, identified the suspect as Gerald Muntuyera alias Rogers Akugizibwe. CID revealed that Muntuyera was hoodwinking produce dealers that Isimba prisons farm had a surplus of maize to sell at a fair price.
The traders from among other districts Kiryandongo, Masindi and Lira couldn’t suspect Muntuyera was a fraudster since he often met them outside Isimba prison fully dressed in the official prisons uniform.
One of the victims, Hebert Mwinganiza, who was a third-year student of Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Rural Innovations at Makerere University said he was locked up by his boss after the suspect conned him of 8.6 million Shillings.
Mwinganiza fell victim after Muntuyera posted a message in Masindi agriculture producer’s Whatsapp group claiming that Isimba prison was stuck with plenty of maize and needed urgent buyers.
Another person who has ever fallen victim to fraudsters claiming maize is being sold in prison centres is Dennis Orech, a produce trader from Lira City. Orech allegedly lost 16 million Shillings to Muntuyera.