Court orders Development Channel boss Lambert re-arrested

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Charles Lambert

Nakawa Chief Magistrates’ Court Friday issued a warrant of arrest for Development Channel director Charles Lambert Nwabuikwu.

Lambert, 44, a Briton of Nigerian decent and his wife, Caroline Waithera Waweru, 30, a Kenyan national, were charged with giving false or misleading information to people in 2018.

If found guilty, the will either be fined Shs12m or imprisoned for five years or both.

Chief Magistrate Her Worship Alum Agnes working on prosecution’s request on Friday issued a warrant of arrest saying Lambert has skipped court twice.

Lambert was arrested last year while trying to flee the country and was later released on bail early this year.

He requested court to allow him negotiate with the complainants, whom he had allegedly defrauded.

Prosecution led by Annet Namatovu alleged that the accused, between October 2017 and November 2018, in various parts of Uganda, disseminated misleading information to induce members of the public to buy shares in Development Channel, knowing or having reason to believe that such information was false.

The suspects are directors of Development Conglomerate Limited and residents of Luzira in Kampala with the company’s office at Itiri House on Port Bell Road, Luzira.

The state-run New Vision reported that the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) under the finance ministry had written to the state minister for investment, Evelyn Anite, about the illegal operations of Development Channel.

In a letter dated September 26, 2018, FIA noted that they had received information through a programme dubbed Uganda Poverty Alleviation, which was collecting money from the public while promising them shares.

By floating shares, the company promised to pay those who bought the dividends of the shares that would enrich them.

At that time, FIA established that the company could not sell shares to the public without the requisite regulatory authorisation.

On March 7, 2018, FIA received a letter from Capital Markets Authority informing them of the suspected illegal sale of shares to the public by Development Channel and requesting the Police to investigate the matter further.

FIA monitored the transactions and gathered additional intelligence which showed that the company was receiving big deposits into their mobile money accounts.

The document also disclosed that the company had opened two business bank accounts — 0080045603 for Uganda shillings and 0080045611 for US dollars in Tropical Bank with three signatories; Lambert, Lawrence Anugwalu and Waweru.

A review of the transaction on the Uganda shillings bank account number 0080045603 indicated a high turnover for the newly opened account.

Between February and June 2018, total credit turnover amounted to Shs723, 510,031, mainly consisting of cash deposits amounting to Shs693,050,00.

Sixty-year-old Badru Mpiima told Vision that on February 21, 2018, he bought five shares for his two children at Shs1.7m and he was promised $100 (about Shs370, 000) per month and one tablet (phone), which he did not get.

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