His source of wealth has been unknown to most members of the public in the Eastern Africa region, only concealed under the disguise of ‘blessings’ from God.
However, blessings do not just fall like manna, hence there must be a channel, whether legal or illegal.
For one Lawrence Malong Lual Yor, it has been revealed that he has been in the middle of gold scammers in the region, which explains his lavish lifestyle.
One of the victims came out to narrate how he was conned close to Ksh200 million in a deal gone sour involving over Ksh150 Kg.
The victim is Wegnew Dessie, a professional doctor turned businessman living in South Africa. Dessie met Malong through a friend named Abebe, who knew Malong as a son of General Paul Malong.
Abebe had already lost Ksh10 million before the gold deal, that roped in Dessie.
When Dessie came into the picture, he was told about an army general in Democratic Republic of Congo who owned tonnes of gold. This looked like a chance to mint more money for Dessie, who was already swimming in multi-million dollar assets in South Africa.
Read: South Sudanese ‘Tycoon’ Malong Lual Remanded In Ugandan Prison Over Fraud
The gold was to be sold through an agent, Mike Okitalunyi Lota, as the ‘general’ was not available to meet buyers.
The gold would be transported from DR Congo, and then exported to Dubai from Uganda, as if it had been originated from Uganda. Thaddeus Gavana Zikusooka, Malong’s friend, was supposed to be a clearing agent for gold deals.
Dessie was promised two tonnes of gold, but 150 bars equivalent of 150 kgs was availed. Ove bar was even molt in his presence, to make him believe that it was pure gold.
However, Dessie did not have a gold trading, hence they agreed to work through Malong who purported to have one. This was Malong’s first card, to reduce Dessie into a facilitator.
He was to pay $23,000 (about Ksh2.3 million), 5 per cent tax and one per cent for insurance for the gold. He was to buy 1kg for a start, which Malong obliged.
However, Malong’s team could not transact since his licence had expired, and required Ksh1 million to renew. In this, Dessie had to part with Ksh4 million for the gold and renewal of the licence.
The spin doctor Malong at this moment brought up more complications, saying that he (Dessie) could not export one kilogram of gold, but instead should be at least 600 kgs.
Through ‘connections’, Malong made it 10kgs, hence Dessie had to part with $150,000 (about Ksh15 million) to buy 9kgs more and $50,000 (about Ksh5 million) to pay taxes, all of which Dessie says was handed to Malong and group.
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“When the appointed day to fly to Dubai came, Dessie and Abebe again received the same explanation. Malong and his group told them that Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) would not allow them to take only 10kgs of gold out of the country yet the gold entered the country from DRC when it was 600kgs,” reports the Daily Monitor.
Dessie wanted a refund at this point, bu all the money had been spent, according to Malong. He even reminded him that he was dealing with army general’s gold, through the son of a general.
Another deal was struck, to have Dessie pay for taxes and exportation fees, then pay the rest of the amount after selling the gold. The amount in question was Ksh50 million.
Dessie was unable to raise the amount, as he could only get Ksh20 million. An officer (Patrick) from the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) agreed to ‘release’ the gold, with a promise that Dessie would pay the remaining amount after the sale.
Malong at this juncture demanded Ksh10 million for parting with such an expensive consignemnt. Dessie paid, and the gold was released to Dubai. However, the gold was taken to Nairobi instead, allegedly smuggled by URA officials since he had paid less tax.
The way out? Dessie was required to pay Ksh45 million to facilitate preparation of papers to sho that the gold originated from Nairobi.
With nowhere and no one to turn to for the money, Malong offered to help him secure a loan. However, he had to pay Ksh10 million facilitation fees. Only Ksh15 million was approved, so Dessie had to look for the remaining Ksh30 million.
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At this point, the only option was to raise the money, or lose all according to Malong.
“They (Dessie and Abebe) flew back to South Africa and Dessie mortgaged his house for $500,000 (Ksh50 million), which he says he all sent to Malong because Malong said he also needed $200,000 (Ksh20 million) for his expenditures while in Nairobi working on the duo’s issues,” reports the paper.
By the time he came back, the plan was changed to Hong Kong from Dubai, and the documentation had already been prepared. He had no choice, since he was only a facilitator.
At this juncture, another character, Hannington Tayoba alias Tony, was introduced supposed to be the DRC general’s lawyer. He was supposed to be present in all transactions, travelling at Dessie’s expenses.
This was the beginning of the end.
The gold was delivered to Hong Kong, at last! Dessie, Abebe and Tony were present, but the gold had to be tested before being sold.
However, before the gold was released, Dessie was required to pay Fedex, the company that was storing the gold, $45,000 (Ksh4.5 million) for storage.
Dessie requested to be allowed to test the gold since he had no money to pay for the storage fees, which he was allowed. Upon testing, it was discovered that the bars were 97.6 pure gold and 23 karat.
The testing company wanted to buy all the gold at $41,000 (Ksh4.1 million) per kilogramme.
“Tony refused to sell it to them. Asked why, Dessie says, Tony said they had to return it to Fedex and have the box cleared with all its contents intact,” reports Daily Monitor.
Dessie went on to borrow the clearance fees from a friend, with the hope of having the merchandise the following day.
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He went back to the hotel the next day, hoping to meet Tony. Tony was nowhere to be seen, and his phone was off. He had disappeared with the gold.
The had to return to Kampala, dejected. The met Malong, Gavana and Tony, who told them he had abandoned them in Hong Kong because he did not trust them and “did not want to waste time with us”.
This was not the end of the game. Tony demanded Ksh10 for his boss, who wanted money to feed his soldiers before they continued with the deal. He sent the money from South Africa.
“But before they would travel to Hong Kong again, Tony told the duo that the bond Owino had contracted in Nairobi on their behalf to support their tax payment had expired, and Dessie and Abebe had to pay the $150,000 (Ksh15 million),” adds the paper.
Malong contacted the ‘wife of the general’ who offered them 50Kgs of gold to keep them going
“Malong asked Dessie and Abebe to raise $30,000 (Sh3 million) for transport, which they did. After this money was available, Malong also said he would have to go to Congo and needed $10,000 (Ksh1 million). That too he was given, Dessie says,” adds the paper.
In the duel, Dessie lost Ksh3 million to Malong, while the gold ended in Brussels courtesy of UN sanctions, according to Malong.
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Malong was now asking for $150,000 (Ksh15 million) and facilitate the selling of the 150kgs of gold, which was already in Hong Kong.
Dessie mortgaged his rental residential building for $300,000 (Ksh30 million) and handed the required money to Tony. He also gave Tony $10,000 (Ksh10 million) for transport and other costs for the trip to Hong Kong.
Tony went missing in Hong Kong, as Dessie was asked to come back to Nairobi where more complications were raised.
This meant more money with nothing working. Dessie paid Malong Ksh6 million, with the gold allegedly being returned to Congo after authorities in Hong Kong discovered its origin, which was not covered in the papers.
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